Candlemas

Candlemas is a church feast with a long history whose roots at a later point tangle with both Groundhog Day and the feast of St. Brigid. Officially it is called the Feast of the Presentation, commemorating Christ’s presentation in the temple with both Anna and Simeon as witness.

The guiding image of Candlemas, as Simeon so beautifully sings, is Light – Christ’s “light to lighten the nations.” My recent book contains two poems centered around Candlemas, and I though in honor of the feast today I would share the second one with you.

Candlemas II

Flame-thrown light tells you

      what to do with this,

a labyrinth of interiority.

It will guide you out of 

      the sharp edged shadows

the rotten boards hidden 

      under the rug of strangeness

the creeping vine of doubts.

You throw salt over the side 

     of a crumbling wall

and you allow your eyes to become two 

    clear bells in the dark.

And candlelight reaches up 

    towards the night

as instinct tells you to raise your eyes 

    as the evening dusks

as a wisp of sparrows curl like smoke 

above the trees.

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