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February 2nd, Candlemas

February 3, 2013


It is time to take the candles down, the window candles

--golden-flickering, soft beacons in hard winter

the house cold till I conjure dinner

with a purple globe of wine while darkness settles like ash

and night falls fast and silent

save for the blare and blaze of  passing ambulance.


I didn’t know today was Candlemas until the groundhog

saw his shadow, like Noah’s dove finding only snow.

Then I remembered: Robert Herrick:

Down with the rosemary, and so

Down with the bays, and mistletoe.

Forty days past Christmas, and all must be put away.


The candles are the last to go.

No waxy warmth in my hand, but stalwart still--

batteried batons of metal, plastic, capped with light.

I take each from every sill

and shadows grow a little deeper,

no jeweled reflection in the mirroring pane.


New things succeed, as former things grow old,

Herrick once more, summoning Isaiah’s brash hope.

I line the candles, side-by-side, on the oaken table

and leave the room, doubting newness, craving light.

And I forget, then I remember, when I return

That batteries don’t expire on Candlemas and the whole table glows.

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I'm a writer, yoga teacher, Lutheran pastor, and music nerd living in New York. I find a feast in daily living - most days, anyway - and write about it here. 

Finalist for the 2017 Chautauqua Prize!
The frank and funny story of a church-geek girl who spent twenty years in the ecclesiastical trenches as a Lutheran pastor, preaching weekly words of hope she wasn’t sure she even believed.