“Illuminate the welders in shipyards with the brilliance of their torches.
Let the crane operator lift up his arm for joy.
Let elevators creak and speak, ascending and descending in awe.
Let the mercy of the flower’s direction beckon in the eye.
Let the straight flower bespeak its purpose in straightness — to seek the light.
Let the crooked flower bespeak its purpose in crookedness — to seek the light.
Let the crookedness and straightness bespeak the light.”
Thank you Allen Ginsberg for illuminating what these nights are really all about – penetrating to the core of the sacred. I reclaim this metaphor as my stated purpose and intention: like the flower, I am here to seek light.
I remember a pretty yellow flower that I picked a few summers ago in an empty square in a Polish town, where, 70 years ago, on an October morning, my father stood with his family before the deportation.
I think of my friend Irwin’s mom, who had a stroke last week, in a hospital bed this whole holiday squeezing his hand like she meant it. When I’m on the phone with him, we both cry. His courage, and hers, like a flower struggling to seek the light of life.
So I don’t want to be confused by hymns about battles long gone or the little jar of oil that could. Penetrate beyond the gelt and glitz to the core of what this holiday of lighting up the night is about: a recurring much needed re-affirmation of human hope, a humble-noble act of protest against the powers that try again and again to extinguish the free and creative, wild, poetic, fearless, failing, justice seeking, overworked, love-thirsty, dignified and deeply human spirit of being. We are here seeking light.
Seven candles lit tonight for human hope against all odds. Seven lights despite the fact that they will last as long as they do and we’ll still be here, dealing with what’s dark. Penetr8 the mystery to watch the morning light rise, pink and patient, straight and crooked, from inside these sacred flames. Recharge the soul with a spark from these candles then share it with another, spread the light. A phone call to a loved one, a moment for sharing a truth.
Let the crookedness and straightness bespeak the light.