Last night we had Passover seder. Although I was raised a Catholic, my husband is an Ashkenazi Jew, and we have made a seder every year that we have been together. Last night we sat 16 at the table. It was cozy, without a doubt, but festive.
Three times last night tears came to me, pricked at the back of my eyelids, made me blink. Once when I lit the candle next to Mom’s photo. My sister and I have been lighting an candle every time we gather to sew for her daughter’s wedding. I don’t remember if Mom ever made it to seder over the years, but gathered around the table were many of the people that she loved, so it seemed right to have her light there.
Sam found this poem, and he asked me to read it after I lit the candles on the table.
Let Evening Come
by Jane Kenyon
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
That feeling behind my eyes, again, as I read these words.
Light. Candles, sunlight, and the sunrise of today. It’s a gloomy, rainy day here in Chicago, barely reaching 40°F – but the peas are up in the garden (undaunted by yesterday’s snow) so I continue to have hope, and it is warm here in the love of friends and family.
Image is Candle by Leland Francisco