Hanukkah-Based Poems

Burning That Midnight Oil 
12/22/2019 by Karen Maeby


Joy, pure joy…that’s what I feel. 
I write–to heal–to share 
to keep my flame flickering longer. 
A writer’s gotta write. The constant need to inspire 
has my spirits running bright. 

Hanukah, Chanukah, Hanukkah
Two thousand spellings 
(well, maybe not that many) 
but enough that I feel like having a full-on discussion 
with Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain or say 
Scott Fitzgerald…. 
as we’re about to enter the roaring 20s again. 

Jazz and romance and glitter and all the glam 
I can just see it now…. 
I’m burning that midnight oil 
sitting here, day dreaming 
about being in a place like France 
where everything has flair and there’s some kind of 
decadence that isn’t where I’ve been before. 

Where there’s style and culture…
Where not everything is the same.. 
Where elegance is part of the vocabulary 
and proper suits and ballroom gowns 
seem kind of normal in this day and age. 
Where being modest isn’t called prude 
but embraced just like being practically nude. 

I can just taste it now: 
Breakfast at Tiffany’s 
black dresses and pearls 
red hair and glitter on all the girls. 
Top hats and pianos and radio voices 
adding up the day’s artistic value 
in a song that would later become famous. 

Oh Chanuka, embrace me tightly, 
the way you’ve always done with the days of eight… 
Throw the fuel to my flame 
and permanent joy within 
to get me through the rest of the year. 

Entanglement of the Soul  
12/22/2019 by Karen Maeby

chocolate rich and in love
the sun 
the moon 
the stars

and the candle that’s being lit 
that brightens up the world 
and lights up the soul 


a music box sings somewhere 
as all Jews pray 
to a new day 
to a new day 
to a new day 
latkes and gelt 
and dreidel playing too 
i like both sour cream and applesauce
what about you? 

the clock ticks and the candle burns out 
another night, another night 
we do this all again the next night…..
dreams and dreams, overnight dreams 
about being waking in the world of pure light 
and rescuing you from the darkness
of the entanglement of your own soul… 

i dream i dream i dream 
too much, it seems. 
to a new day, to a new night 
cheers to the candle light 
that’s saved many souls… 
let’s find the ones flickering in the night 
and put the flame back in their light. 

Mixed Feelings 
12/22/2019 by Karen Maeby


Sometimes… eight days is just not enough 
for the flame to keep flickering inside my soul
for the rest of the year. 

I resonate with the 1% battery example 
lasting for the 8 days, a true miracle, 
(the meme to explain how Hanukkah feels… 
to those who don’t know or celebrate) 
I only know, because I’ve been there before.

I have learned– 
we humans cannot survive like that. 
I am thankful we are given Shabbat each week 
to rest, recharge, unplug 
even though it’s sometimes hard to do so… 
it’s the only way to survive. 

I have learned 
that stretching myself so thin 
and running out of fuel before I even begin 
yet another project
without taking care of myself first
is a true injustice to G-d. 

I’ve been yearning for the first night 
for twenty days now: 
that same light that changed me two years ago. 
I was almost too exhausted soulfully to enjoy 
the lights being lit before me–the message– 
bringing me to realize a lot needs to change. 

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