A Tribute to the Angels of the Lost Empyrean

by Jim Newcombe

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.
-VIRGIL, Aeneid

Smoke and fire’s darkly charring luminosity
glamours the hearth with silky gusts of gold,
like liquid flags blown loose for liberty
or salamanders hatching from the coals
in the flap, thrash and crackle of the fire
where all flames dance with a dancing shadow,
each reaching skyward like a molten spire
that glimmers with a moth-beguiling glow.
Into the pallid ash, softly sunken,
the wavelet flames cast a mutinous spark
impulsively, subtle, savage, fallen,
a cinder kindled in the formless dark.

In the formless dark, gyrating flames of light
flash impalpably; hell-flowers unfurling
their bright, bewitching petals to the night,
reluctant to still their weightless swirling
and sink to their repose. And as I stare
I think of angels born of smokeless fire,
of brimstone steaming in the breathless air,
an ethereal threshold to a sphere
of original bliss, from which arose
the fatal cravings in us that entice
man’s damnable will to ruin, and compose
the pandemonium of paradise.


Contributor’s Notes: Jim Newcombe hailed from Derbyshire in the heart of England before uprooting to London in 2006, where he now lives in a goldfinch-charmed garret beside the sequestered Turnham Green. An amateur naturalist by day and a cordial maltworm by night, he is currently writing a novel and a series of short stories. He has had work published in numerous publications.

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