Imagine, if you will,
two candles. Both are burning
at the feet of a beautiful lady,
mantled in white, robed in robins’-blue—
not unlike these little flames,
blue at the base, and white, for the pure Virgin,
trimmed all in gold for the King.
Now look: these kenotic lights,
burning up to heaven in self sacrifice:
one shines steadily, a ready lamp
pointing straight a way to one
who leads us always to her Son.
It is like a star in the vastness of the night,
pinprick-light of unabashèd constancy.
The other sputters, twists and turns
in the grip of some imperceptible wind,
whipped here, then there—affected, it seems,
by every warp and weft
of everyday circumstance—
streaming for a moment in nigh cardinalatial splendor,
then reduced to an ember, a speck.
Yet never does it quite go out.
(It may be that a hand cups the wavering flame,
a breath inspires it to burn a little longer.)
Is this latter light the more to be pitied
for the special attention paid to its inconstancy?—
or the more to be praised for its wild beauty?
Is it the weaker light?—or merely takes itself lightly?
Now try and see with the eyes of the Lady,
a mother’s eyes gazing down on two sons
crowned in gold—a queen’s eyes
looking with approval on two gifts,
equal in dignity, burned up in her sight:
their sweet fragrance and the light they cast
rising to Heaven, commingling, to a greatness!—
Pronouncing, with the whole and holy Trinity,
את-האור כי-טוב — “It is good.”