Tag Archives: wonder

The well of fire

I am frozen at the event horizon and the crush has begun:
heart and mystery stretched between two infinities,
brazen hope to broken will.

But all is not lost. There is a mercy for the fallen
who are pulled in, weeping with the wonder of it,
landing (if you can call it that) with an implosion
more felt than loud, but joyous all the same.

It’s an eternity, that stop—there on the edge—
the frontal wave of a heartbeat
that never echoes again.
But that is, in truth, the event itself.
Wait for it.


Black holes are singularly (pun intended) interesting things. In a black hole, the event horizon is the point at which the gravity becomes so intense escape is impossible, even for light, hence the name. Moreover, time gets wonky around black holes. If you were to cross the event horizon of a black hole feet first, to an outsider you’d appear to hover on that edge forever, while to yourself you’d appear to become like a piece of spaghetti, as the gravity, being more intense at your feet than your head, stretched you out. And yet—and this is what made Stephen Hawking so darn famous in the first place—black holes leak energy. In fact even tiny amounts of matter falling to the core release horrific amounts of energy and black holes can have laser-like beams of energy and matter shooting out of them for thousands of light years.

It’s a hell of an analogy to work with!

Thank you for reading The well of fire. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph is entitled Explosion and was taken in the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem and notes © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2014 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use or reproduction in any way, unless so granted in writing by the copyright owner.


Filed under Poetry

Willy Oppenheim’s “Solstice”

Willy Oppenheim is the founder and president of omprakash, a free online platform that connects grassroots health, education, and environmental organizations in over 30 countries with a global audience of volunteers, donors, and classrooms that can learn from and support their work. Willy is also the winner of the 2013 Oxonian Review Poetry Competition at Oxford University for his poem Ambition, which you can find here. Willy is an American Rhodes Scholar reading for a DPhil in Education at Pembroke College, Oxford; he will be defending his thesis there in early 2014. With his permission I will be posting several of his wonderful poems over the next little while.


You arrive and arrive.
No heat in moonlit room,
the space between two windows,
the space held by walls and words
we root in.

You go back,
you keep moving,
you walk circles
on frozen ground.

You sleep low
under still air
and want to say
something is teeming,
the world is waiting
to undress in poetry.

You go back to the bookshelves
of people you love
and return to the texture of paper
and return
and no one speaks.

Something is rising there
in the trees;
it makes a round
burning in the cold,
it is the words we carry,
it is the moon.

As with all of Willy’s poems, there is an incredible sense of atmosphere and presence, as if one is standing in a holy spot and is amazed and dumbfounded by the beauty and wonder found there.

Thank you for reading Willy Oppenheim’s “Solstice”. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


The poem Solstice is ©2013 by Willy Oppenheim; all rights reserved.


Filed under Poetry