Poetry Friday Roundup is Here!

Passing the Torch

I shake the flame out of my matchstick;
(one flame dies so another can grow)
cup my hand around the candle’s burning wick.

Nothing about this process is quick.
(light one, expect others to follow)
Again, I shake the flame out of my matchstick,

discard it with a flick,
(travel light, shed unnecessary cargo)
cup my trembling hand around the candle’s wick

and listen to the clock tick-tick-tick.
(there’s no stopping time, I know, I know)
I shake and the flame goes out of my matchstick.

This is no magician’s trick --
(it’s a hard pill to swallow)
the cup of hand around the candle’s burning wick

is merely the arithmetic
of love caught and held in a minute glow.
And so I shake the flame out of my matchstick; 
cup my hand around the candle’s burning wick.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021




It’s August, and retirement is getting real. My brain is not filled with thoughts of classroom organization, community building, lesson planning, or safety mandates. And that’s okay. Time to move on to new adventures.

This poem was the first villanelle I attempted in July as I prepared for the Poetry Sisters’ challenge. I used my clunker line from Linda Mitchell (I shake the flame out of my matchstick) but I never intended for it to be a poem about retirement. The best poems are the ones that surprise even the poet, right?

Christie, who has next week’s roundup, is gathering lines for a community “Poetry Is…” poem she’ll post next week. Be sure to check out her post and contribute a line!

Add your link to the roundup here!