The Bellows – a poem by John Steele 

The Bellows

The bellows breath ignites a fire.
Flames purge your nostrils, gut, and brain,
rouse the serpent from its slumber,
coiled up in your sacral cave.

Cross-legged, your head bowed
to face your heart, breathe in
to lift your chest up toward your chin.
Exhale, inhale through your nose,

pump your gut to blast air out—
in-out, in-out, in-out…
Then with a sharp in-breath,
suck your belly in and hold…

Work the bellows till the embers glow.
Breath by breath, surrender to the flow.


John W. Steele is a psychologist, yoga teacher, assistant editor of Think: A Journal of Poetry, Fiction and Essays, and graduate of the MFA Poetry Program at Western Colorado University, where he studied with Julie Kane, Ernest Hilbert and David Rothman. John lives in Boulder, Colorado and loves hiking in the mountains.

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