You cannot unburn what is burned

Today, a haunting and provocative villanelle from A.E. Stallings (1968-).

Alicia Elsbeth

“Burned”

You cannot unburn what is burned.
Although you scrape the ruined toast,
You can’t go back. It’s time you learned

The butter cannot be unchurned,
You can’t unmail the morning post,
You cannot unburn what is burned–

The lovers in your youth you spurned,
The bridges charred you needed most.
You can’t go back. It’s time you learned

Smoke’s reputation is well earned,
Not just as an acrid, empty boast–
You cannot unburn what is burned.

You longed for home, but while you yearned,
The black ships smoldered on the coast;
You can’t go back. It’s time you learned

That even if you had returned,
You’d only be a kind of ghost,
You can’t go back. It’s time you learned

That what is burned is burned is burned.

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One thought on “You cannot unburn what is burned

  1. Natalie,

    This is indeed ³haunting² – and so very powerful (and spoke to me at such an opportune moment). Thank you for sending this one out!

    George

    I can give you nothing that has not already its being within yourself. I can throw open to you no picture gallery but your own soul. I help you to make your own world visible. That is all. -Herman Hesse

    From: live in the layers Reply-To: live in the layers Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 11:17 AM To: George Lukacs Subject: [New post] You cannot unburn what is burned

    WordPress.com nataliejabbar posted: “Today, a haunting and provocative villanelle from A.E. Stallings(1968-). “Burned” You cannot unburn what is burned. Although you scrape the ruined toast, You can’t go back. It’s time you learned The butter cannot be unchurned, You can’t unma”

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