Let the Candles Rest
The room is dim, a strange and temporary sanctuary,
a place, in this moment, less of worship and filled more
It is a long list. Peace. Comfort. Healing. Strength.
Strength particularly, In normal times, there is barely enough
to bar the doors from the demons inside.
Barely enough, but enough. You have become an old warrior,
crafty and lean, sufficient. The dark ones knew you were their match
and largely left you alone, snipping at your heels like an old dog.
But like vultures, they smell blood. Wounded is as good as dead.
They strain at their chains. They throw themselves at the barred doorway.
The foundations shake with their fury.
Perhaps you should be more afraid. You still bear their marks
a decade and more later, when you were a mere apprentice.
You know more than most what it is like to lose battle after battle
and still emerge, victorious.
And so you sit in your sanctuary. Your eyes accustomed to the dim light,
The candles are unlit. The communion sits on the altar.
You no longer need the light to see.
You have become the light. Let the candles rest.
Whenever the beasts break through, you will be enough,
All that remains to be known is the length of the battle.
You smile, almost sorry for the baying liars on the other side,
so sure, so doomed in the end, to the light.
About this poem
When you are recovering from one thing, it is good to remember the battles already won. History has it’s virtues.
The picture was taken in Clinton, MA, at the Russian Icon Museum. The candlesticks and plate are part of the Tsar’s communion set.