Light a Candle (Again)

“It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.”

–Primo Levi (1986)

Light a candle–
six million, if you can,
resplendent glow,
for those who say they didn’t know,

for those who didn’t, do not see
what once was, what could be,
who overlooked the ash-filled air,
who still ignore the pleading cries
and do not hear the ghostly sighs
that float over the walls of hate,

light a candle
for those who suffered then—
and now

and when
the hate-filled cries ignite the night
don’t pretend you led a fight,

or that you were righteous and true,
or even had a clue

as you embrace soundbite and meme
to boost your fragile self-esteem,

but see? The ghost numbers grow everyday–
and they never ever go away.

Today, January 27, is Holocaust Remembrance Day. I revised a poem I wrote a few years ago and re-posted last year. Authoritarianism and anti-semitism are both rising. Last year, followers of the former president tried to overthrow our government. There is so much ignorance–and hate–and people who embrace crackpot theories. We are living in a very scary time.

80 thoughts on “Light a Candle (Again)

  1. Powerful. I am reading out loud books with my son that tell these stories, that lift these voices, so he doesn’t go out into the world ignorant of the truth that our schools are being legislated away from teaching.

  2. Thank you Merril, very powerfully told. We will never forget. I agree these are scary times. We have to be vigilant at all times – and be ever aware of man’s capability of(ongoing) inhumanity to man.

  3. Pingback: Remembering – Liesl Garner – Poet

  4. Such a powerful poem…You are right…We must be candles of love, one to another. Love is much more powerful than hate. We must also pray without ceasing; God hears our every prayer. He loves all of His children. We must carry the torch of love wherever we go. We do make a difference…the power of one is sometimes underestimated. The spark of love is a spark beyond measure…

    • Thank you so much, Linda. 💙
      I’m not a believer, but good thoughts and deeds work no matter how they’re expressed. And yes, sometimes one person is all it takes to at least start things.

  5. I sometimes think of your poems as ribbons of hope…streams of ribbons! Yes, there are the deep blue streamers, for life is not perfect, but then there are the ribbons of deep pink, like the dawn of day, and the yellow ribbons that are like sunshine itself. These ribbons set sail and hover for all the world to see…It is a beautiful thing when we celebrate the beautiful, even amidst the clouds of sadness and things that should not be. It helps others ‘see’ that there is more than those clouds. And those bright and beautiful streamers change the world…

  6. I am so sorry I am only coming to your wise words today, Merril, a day late. But we need to remember these things every day: just what evil the human race is capable of, and also how we were made to do so much better.

    • Thank you, Ingrid! No need to apologize. It’s hard to keep up with all the posts everywhere. Yes, we do need to remember. I’m not sure what it’s like where you are, but according to polls, there’s a shocking lack of knowledge about the Holocaust in the US.

  7. Merril, your prose is powerful.
    I agree, we live in a scary time.
    Canada is such a copy cat of America, that I am worried for us up in the north.
    We had a Truckers Protest in our capital city, Ottawa.
    My niece calls it Flu Trucks Klan. Ignorance was on display full force. Anti mask, anti vaxx, anti public health… all just me…my rights, my thoughts, my wants, my beliefs… and my rights and wants are the most important, so if I give you Covid or suck up hospital beds that’s my right.
    Merril, I’m trying to get some medical tests, but Omicron (spread largely by the unvaxxed) has sidelined my medical needs.
    I worry about my hubby, as antisemitism festers.

    • Thank you, Resa.
      Yes, I heard about the truckers’ protest. Awful people–they were taking food from homeless shelters!
      I hope you and your husband stay well, and that you’re able to get the tests you need.

      • Of course every anti-everything person in the region joined the truckers. It’s still going on. They closed the main mall in the city, and many stores. The so called protesters were planning to swarm stores and shop without masks. Fools!

        Yes, I’ll call back all the ultrasound places that haven’t called back yet.

      • 💙💙
        I got 1 of 2 appts. so far.

        The message of the protest got lost behind nazi symbols, confederate flags, attacks on gays, public defecation and defacing of memorials.
        Average IQ 51-70.

  8. Hauntingly beautiful poem, Merril. Breaks my heart that there is any need to continually remind people of what happened. If humans were truly made in God’s image, why are so many of them so willfully ignorant? (Pretty sure there’s not an answer for that.)

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