Monday, 29 October 2007

Will I be there by Candlelight?

I have been obsessed by songs and poems about candles for the last little while. Please forgive me if some of these quotes are not accurate; I'm working from memory here.

Jesus bids us shine with a clear, pure light
Like a little candle, burning in the night.
In this world of darkness, so let us shine -
You in your small corner and I in mine.

This was my mother and my aunt's favourite hymn. They had jokes about it. My aunt, who could draw amazingly well, once made a cartoon of herself as a candle in a corner. I had it for years, but I can no longer find it. Never mind. Their memories steadily shine away in my heart.

My candle burns at both ends.
It will not last the night.
But, ah my dear, and oh my dear,
It gives a lovely light.

I love candles; at Christmas I celebrate the solstice by lighting candles all over the house. Big fat cinnamon scented red ones, tall silver tapers, a row of tiny green evergreens, a creamy coloured angel with gilt wings, a square green one with holly painted on it. I hover in the living room with a candle snuffer in my hand, but I love every heated minute of it.

Night's candles are burnt out.

There's that still, deep blue or grey moment, every morning, just before the dawn, when everything is an outline. I often wake then, for the most mundane of reasons, and wish I had done so earlier, so that I could have taken a few minutes to look at the stars. We live in the deep country and our neighbours are few and thankfully don't have yard lights. At night I can go out onto the deck or kitchen porch and see a whole sky of blazing stars. Not so much candles as diamonds. A river of them. I don't know why that's such a memorable line of Shakespeare's, except that the scene is so famous.

Yes I answered you last night,
No this morning sir I say.
Colours seen by candlelight
Do not look the same by day.

Candle lit faces are softer, more relaxed. Is that the light, or the effect of the candles? Faces glow, eyes shine, smiles are more vivid. One of the most beautiful photographs I have ever seen was of a child, holding a fat tapered candle, with the light of the flame reflected in her eyes. I lived my childhood with my mother's light reflected on me. She loved the sun. I love stars. And candles.


  1. I love your "random musings." And candles. And stars.


  2. Beautiful.

    Can I say I am especially struck by the drawing bit? The drawing your aunt did of herself? It's lost or missing, and you said oh well, I've got the memory.

    You know, I find that sort of feeling more and more these days. Just the memory of it is enough to bring the smile.

    I don't need the tangible as much.

    Again, beautiful post.

    Using My Words

  3. I love that Edna St. Vincent Millay. I also love how you blog about some of the most random things at times. Those are some of your best posts.