Hanukkah Lights

By Philip M. Raskin

I kindled my eight little candles,
My Hanukkah candles, and lo!
Fair visions and dreams half-forgotten
Were rising of years long ago.

I musingly gazed at my candles;
Meseemed in their quivering flames
In golden, in fiery letters
I read the old, glorious names;

The names of our heroes immortal,
The noble, the brave, and the true;
A battlefield saw I in vision,
Where many were conquered by few;

And mute lay the Syrian army,
Judea’s proud foe, in the field;
And Judas, the brave Maccabaeus,
I saw in his helmet and shield.

His eyes shone like bright stars of heaven,
Like music resounded his voice:
“Brave comrades, we fought and we conquered,
Now let us in God’s name rejoice!

“We conquered; but know, my brave comrades,
No triumph is due to the sword;
Remember our motto and watchword,
‘For the people and towns of the Lord.’”

He spoke, and from all the four corners
An echo repeated each word;
The woods and the mountains re-echoed:
“For the people and towns of the Lord.”

And swiftly the message spread, calling:
“Judea, Judea is free!
Rekindled the lamp in the Temple,
Rekindled each bosom with glee!”

* * * * * * * * *

My Hanukkah candles soon flickered,
Around me was darkness of night;
But deep in my soul I felt shining
A heavenly, wonderful light.

This Poem Features In: