Light the Festive Candles

(FOR HANUKKAH)

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 (Atheneum Publishers, 1983)