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The Burnt Child Analysis

Author: poem of W.S. Merwin Type: poem Views: 1

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Matches among other things that were not allowed

never would be

lying high in a cool blue box

that opened in other hands and there they all were

bodies clean and smooth blue heads white crowns

white sandpaper on the sides of the box scoring

fire after fire gone before

I could hear the scratch and flare

when they were over

and catch the smell of the striking

I knew what the match would feel like


when I was very young

a fire engine came and parked

in the shadow of the big poplar tree

of Fourth Street one night

keeping its engine running

pumping oxygen to the old woman

in the basement

when she died the red lights went on burning


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