Reviewed by Ray Zimmerman
Fire is a destroyer and a cleanser. It is a force of nature from which we warm ourselves, cook our food, and flee in terror when it is beyond our control. All of these elements appear in Finn Bille's soon to be released collection, Fire Poems.
The book opens with the author awakened from a pleasant dream to a crashing burning home, from which he and his wife escape through a window. The glass has melted and cracked away to create the portal for their escape and rebirth. The cleansing fire burns away a dead starling, trapped in a window screen.
Through the entire book, the beat of Finn's Djembe drum resonates, the goat skin head cracked and burned way, the hollow body shooting flame. Perhaps the most poignant of all images appears in the short poem ashes, in which a Plum Wood Flute, now gone, was once a blossoming twig, once a source of music and joy.
As the flames continue their rampage, furniture, paintings, musical instruments, and household icons alike fall victim to the destruction. A favorite coffee mug escapes only cracked, and a window is reformed for their new home. A copy of his previous book, “Rites of the Earth,” escapes with charred pages. From these bits and pieces they reconstruct their lives.