Lights Across the Dreams of Man

Every candle, once lit, is its own shrine:
A solemn, silent vigil to itself,
Pure and peaceful as its very grave,
Waiting for its own sublimation.

This is why they are sacred. They keep watch
For their own sake. They bring to the room
A light which, though sleep-tinged, dark,
Does cast relief across the walls

In different ways. Insinuations, thoughts
Of other times, of other stories we have told.
The art of candles is human-old, and older
Still: as old as there have been ghosts and gods.

Place one finger into the clear, cool
Pool of melted wishes, once flame-hot.
It is tender on the fingertip, playful-warm,
Yet hardens to a ghost-white thimble;

Smooth without, but smoother still within
Once eased from the fingertip in its mold,
Smooth as chestnut silk. A memory
Of both candle and the person keeping watch

Over the slight and silent fire they have lit.
And as that candle dwindles to its peace,
Its own night, remember that the light it casts
Is older than the very dreams of man.

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