Poem: “The Candle Critic”

Been too long.  I owe you folks one.  Yes, I’ve been quite prolific here, btw.

The Candle Critic

I used to collect candles
all shapes, all sizes
it didn’t matter
as long as they were beautiful

I would take them home
arrange them just so
on the polished pine shelves
lining my private study

One day
a graybeard spied me
my arms full
with their accustomed load
of wrapped brown packages

Looking me up and down
he spat at my feet
grabbed my expensive purchases
and threw them into the gutter

"You fool," said he
A candle unburnt
is worse than useless
for they give you nothing
in exchange
for the space they occupy"

"But they are beautiful,"
I protested.  "See the colors,
the lovely shapes
the cunning craftsmanship
of the candlemaker’s art."

"Burn your candles, I say
but burn them well
for otherwise one day
your study will be full
of frozen waxworks
and you will have
become just like them

"Burn those candles," he abjured
"Keep the wicks well-trimmed
and the fresh breeze neither too much
nor too little

"If the wax tends to run
consider the discipline
of a brass ring
but the best candles
do not need such

"Most candles still
drown themselves eventually
in their own spilled wax

"Rare and sublime it is
to experience the candle
that achieves the perfection
the flame consuming
wax and wick
in equal measure
so that both run out
in precisely the same instant
leaving for a single eyeblink
nothing but the flame
and then it too is gone

The graybeard kissed his fingers
and made a gesture of dismissal
nodding to my now
gutter-dampened heap
of wrapped candles
some now undoubtedly broken
"Take those home, put them
with the rest of your collection
and light them all
See what happens."

– Becca Morn, September 2006

About Becca

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