Light The First Candle [A Chanukah Poem]

by Eleanor Goldfield

Light the first candle for those trapped in darkness

The kohenet wrote

I light this candle

for those trapped in the darkness of genocide,

those without water,

without food, without medicine, without light.

May the light find you and shelter you,

be the delicate glimmer that life needs to survive -

til you may thrive again

in Palestine.

I light this candle for those trapped in the darkness of colonialism,

of nakam against enemies carved from neighbors,

for the splintering of our communities -

where so many have chosen the dark side,

an endless abyss of violence that will never satisfy, never satiate.

The blood will only make your thirst more,

and in the desert you tried to conquer

you will find yourself overcome

and overthrown.

Walls always fall.

And those digging amongst the ruins of your hate many thousands of years from now,

the children of the crescent will look with horror at the prisons you made.

The children of the star will look with shame

at what was built in our name,

the prisons that ensnared the soul

that may never again be whole.

They will turn from these ashes and whisper prayers in ancient tongues you couldn’t bury.

They will hold hands and walk thru the olive groves you tried to burn.

They will dance and sing and love.

They will dishonor your memory with each joyous breath, from the river to the sea.

They will, and Palestine, will be free.

I light this first candle for those trapped in darkness,

and I remember light -

the light of the past, of the future,

of my people and theirs,

for the days to come

when the light from these candles may fulfill a dream

and overtake darkness

against all odds