The candle

How have you made me?
Say not, With wax and wick and a taper trimmed.
For I am light and I am heat,
I am an evening spent alone
befriended by the memory of a scent.
And I am undone.

Your bright flame in my dark night
has unmade me, and in unmaking me,
has made me.
I, something, was nothing.
in becoming nothing, something,
my essence, to burn for you…
Some would call this sacrifice. Not me.

I am fascinated by the concept that true sacrifice—sacrifice made out of love—returns more than it gives up. The inspiration for the poem was a quotation of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Head of the Bahá’í Faith for many years. The full text is here, from which I took this quote:

“…ye must die to yourselves and to the world, so shall ye be born again and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Behold a candle how it gives its light. It weeps its life away drop by drop in order to give forth its flame of light.”

What is our true destiny? That is the question the candle asks us. But where else would the light of truth and the heat of love come from, in this world, if not from us?

Thank you for reading The candle. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2012 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge,

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