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Hanukkah Lights

by Philip M. Raskin, 1917

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.

Tags: hanukkah, history, hope, religion

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