Light the Festive Candles

By Aileen Lucia Fisher 1906–2002


Light the first of eight tonight—
the farthest candle to the right.

Light the first and second, too,
when tomorrow's day is through.

Then light three, and then light four—
every dusk one candle more

Till all eight burn bright and high,
honoring a day gone by

When the Temple was restored,
rescued from the Syrian lord,

And an eight-day feast proclaimed—
The Festival of Lights—well named

To celebrate the joyous day
when we regained the right to pray
to our one God in our own way.

Aileen Fisher, “Light the Festive Candles” from Skip Around the Year (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1967). Copyright © 1967, 1985 by Aileen Fisher. Reprinted with the permission of Marian Reiner.

Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

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Poet Aileen Lucia Fisher 1906–2002

Subjects Religion, Judaism

Holidays Hanukah

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza


Poet Aileen Fisher was born in the town of Iron River, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Her mother, a former kindergarten teacher, instilled in her a love of poetry, and Fisher went on to be educated at the University of Chicago and the University of Missouri, where she earned a BA in journalism. After graduation she moved to Chicago, working in a placement bureau for women journalists and later as the director of the Women’s . . .

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SUBJECT Religion, Judaism

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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