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who started this?
where did this fire come from?

it wasn't me,
i've been careful,
kept spraying the dry grass.
and digging trenches.

it wasn't you,
you were standing too far back,
even so,
i caught you with that book of matches,
kept you from striking a single one.

so how did it start?
even as i was wetting down the ground
i smelt smoke,
it stung my eyes, i fought back tears.

then i saw the shadows dancing,
shadows like none i've seen before,
yet somehow familiar.

and i felt the warmth of the flames.
their draw is overwhelming,
i'm afraid of getting too close,
fearful of being consumed.

yet in the ordered confusion of it all,
my question came back to me,
who started this? who?!

this is nothing i created,
nothing i contrived,
i am not the one who fashioned this,
this is ex nihlo,
i am baffled, and completely in wonderment.

nothing like this has ever happened...

...to me.

© 2001 (7 november) john r. chase

i'm speechless. . .