Martyn Crucefix

Nightlights

Once inside she asks to light a candle
and though they’re meant for prayer
I whisper there’s no problem
just as long as she can make a wish
as she might come March
for her seventh birthday

if with a bit more reverence―
though that’s not exactly what I say―
but we can’t find a spill to bring the flame
and they’re not real candles anyway
in her little daunted hands
she finds the tiny nightlights

too fiddly to kindle
one from the other so I take the lead
without thinking ease her gently aside
steadying a nightlight in each hand
this one held up dark and unlit
this one already brightly trembling

as if I’ve a firm grip at last
on the great dualities she begins to divine
yet edging them closer
the flame shrugs and promptly gutters
starved of air of course
and so we laugh but then hush

with the shock of having snuffed out
someone else’s fervent prayer
with our attempt to light our own
and not only because hers must be
the more light-hearted one―
we each feel everything here has weight

Martyn Crucefix’s recent books include The Time We Turned (Shearsman, 2014), A Hatfield Mass (Worple Press, 2014). Just published is The Lovely Disciplines (Seren, 2017) and  a limited edition of O. at the Edge of the Gorge (Guillemot Press, 2017) .

Martyn is the reader at this year’s
Festival Supper at the Torbay Poetry
Festival, on Saturday,Ocotber 21st.
The evening consists of a welcome
drink, a reading by Martyn, and a
three course dinner with wine,
coffee and mints, £35.00