Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

From Dr.E.: Blessing-Poem, “I Am Not Needed There…Fire! Give Me Fire!”

In Blessing-Poems from Dangerous Old Woman fireside on April 23, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Dear Brave Souls: I’m placing this blessing-poem here for you as encouragement, as support, as knowledge… all of which are far different and often more sustaining than ‘information’ alone. Peace be with you. Til we meet again at the fireside …soon.

With love,

Dr. E



by CP Estés

I am not needed.

There are enough scholars

arguing both or all sides of everything.

(I always laugh when I hear about “equal time”

as though there are only two sides.

There are thousands of sides to everything.)

I am not needed there.

There are enough etymologists.

There are others who can use the beautiful words

like nosology, tautology,

eschatology, exegesis, and omphalos—

(not to mention syzygy)

even though only five-thousand people worldwide

know what those words really mean.

I am not needed there.

There are ever so many beautiful singers,

whose voices are sweet or clear or powerful.

And though I love to feel them play my bones,

I am not needed there either.

There are more than enough people busy

stirring the pot, taking the high road,

knowing all the short cuts,

calling more cooks to supervise the broth,

adding more coals to the fire.

There are more than enough

who spin evolutionary ideas,

who add more to the heap,

who fill everything that needs filling,

and who are emptying

all the things that they believe are in dire

need of emptying.

There are enough rolling stones,

enough birds in the bushes

(though far fewer in the hand).

There are enough of all these.

I am not needed there.

But down at the back of the house at dark,

leaning over the great stone sharpening wheel,

my old broken shoes fitted to the rusted pedals,

I can make my legs go forever.

I can make my legs go forever.

I can make my legs go forever.

I press the steel blade

of every dull knife—

not hard against hard,

but tender against hard, just right—

against this spinning stone. I make

fly everywhere in the night,

showers of sparks, the little fires

that catch often enough,

and just right

on various dry old tears,

and old useless memories

stacked as crisp papers

in some forlorn attic

under the hairline soffits or

in the cornices of the heart.

And this fire

sets ablaze whatever is needing


This fire  sets ablaze

And burns away

whatever is no longer needed.

Here I have found my place.

Here, I have found my place.

Here I am needed

at this great stone wheel

that cannot turn by itself,

but only by the bones and blood

of the hands and the legs

that can hold to it,

that can hold to it,

that can hold to it.

Working long, tiring, resting,

Working long, tiring, resting,

Working long, tiring, resting,

coming back

once more.

Fire! Give me fire!

More! Fire!



… Showers of sparks, everywhere!


I Am Not Needed There… Fire, Give Me Fire!” blessing-poem by CP Estés Copyright, ©2010, All Rights Reserved, including but not limited to electronic, performance, theatrical, musical, graphic, film, commercial, derivitive. Uses: You are welcome to use this blessing poem in non-commercial ways without adding to nor deleting any part, just using the work in its entirety along with author’s name and this copyright notice attached. Thank you. Other permissions: Ngandelman@aol.com

(This blessing-poem given out in the ancient oral tradition during first fireside of The Dangerous Old Woman, CP Estés and Sounds True, 2010.)

  1. I cannot put into words what ‘I Am Not Needed There’ meant to me when you read it on air a few weeks ago. Only that it broke open my tears, joyfully. I love your boldness in ‘give me fire!’. The words I am finding seem so trivial for the way you GO FOR IT, whole heart and soul.

    When I read the words here I thought how it is a wonderful sister piece for the poem about bringing the water, from ‘Mother Night’.

    Since Mother Night I have had a card with the words (and please excuse my spelling, because I’m only guessing) ‘exerate tonus’. I wrote in my notes from the event, ‘to ignite the fire, again and again.’ I struggled with your urgings and instructions to us to find a daily practice, until you explained this way of looking at it. ‘The creative nature is not quiescent,’ you said. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me to use what I have in a way that feels soulful.

    Thank you, as ever, as always.



  2. webiste address update….it is http://www.therapyandcreativity.vpweb.co.uk…not wp web…I make many typo errors!!!!

  3. Thankyou dear Dr.E….it is precious to connect with you here and with DOW….soul-food, and a soul-sister….you are precious….

    love Roni x

  4. It is after midnight tonight
    Something got me up, I am glad to read your message about this blog.

    I love the poem because it describes a kind of stripping away of old things I used to think I am….into new things and new places and new me…I have never been so clueless about where I am going than now.

    Your guidance, Dr. E., is very kind, very wise, like I have known you all my life. I am grateful to be part of Dangerous Old Woman and now this blog. Not sure about website stuff, I don’t have a website, just an e mail.
    Please advise. LCJ

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