Ode to the Candles

Hold fast, slender sentinels!
Hold sway against the night!
As for eons you’ve defied the baying terror,
lit the papers and quills,
jaundiced the livering killers in cups,
flickered on worry, grief
and joy. A sick child
may never see the sun,
but your staunch and standing
tear has led the way home.

Tallow, beeswax, paraffin please
Your unburnt cheap luxury,
scented and tawdry,
bent by the rays of noon,
dressing the fancy tables
gaunt in shadowless light –
as if you’ve never known
the tortured rapid flow
when a slight breeze
breaks the burning rim
and your flame leaps long
on the new exposed wick.

There will come a time – again –
there will come a time
when our days are measured
by the myriad dusks,
when we, withering before the risk
of shadow, nest our faces,
wrest from our hands toils
defining class and worth,
must lean, calloused, soft,
trembling into the one yellow tear
that threatens the night boldly.

Image: James Dryden on Unsplash

9 Thoughts

  1. Hey Devon,

    How are you? My God! This piece is a revelation! Not that I didn’t already know you’re a poetic genius. Beautiful! I loved it! Same thing for “Owls”. I’m curious about what you meant by “they spoke in Vietnamese”! Don’t fully understand it but I love it anyway!
    Now on “The whole world gathers” too. I have to say as I watched “her” unfold I held my breath all the way through but in the end I decided to take a bow!
    I apologize for delaying my response to you. My last exam was postponed and the whole thing lasted a few torturous, tedious days more, so I kinda had to bear it a bit longer.
    As soon as this was over I read your latest poems, I wanted to take my time with them. Thank you for sending them to me!
    Also, I saw you joined IG! Welcome! Gotta start writing there too don’t we? And I have to launch my WordPress blog… Gee, I’m getting nervous! Hope I haven’t lost it and dried out. Also, hope you are well!
    Keep writing my brilliant friend!🎈


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    1. Hello Mae,

      So great to hear from you. I jumped on IG to read Jason’s work. He sent me a link so I can keep up with his work.

      Thanks for your comments, I do appreciate them. Now in “The Owls” – it was a very quiet morning so I could here the owls very clearly. Sounded like Morse Code. So I put their call through a Morse Code translator and lo and behold – the word was a Vietnamese word. Yes, I know it’s a stretch to think that owls were speaking to me in Vietnamese, as I have been told by friends, but what do they know, right.

      I hope you did well on your exams. Now get that site open, I’ve checked it everyday LOL.

      Oh, by the way, if you have time, read Peter Taylor’s poem “Web Sights” on WoL. Wow, that guy is genius.


  2. Brilliant as always! Peter Taylor’s “Web Sights”. Okay, will do! One of these days my friend I will launch! Tune in!

  3. I was attracted to this for the atmosphere and was not disappointed. So many thoughts expressed around a simple candle. September 28 was my mum’s birthday so I stopped and looked. No one there.

    1. Thank you, Ray.

      In our always light on demand world, it is an easy thing to forget that for most of human history, night was lit only by fire, as you know. It is easy to dispel as childish the fear of darkness we all have dwelling in the back of our minds, but it is there, always ready to torture us.


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