Thursday, November 6, 2014

I Saw Twelve Candles Shining

(If you like the words of this hymn, and you are a musician and would like to try putting an air to it, please contact me.)

I saw twelve candles shining by Our Blessed Lady's Shrine
Twelve candles shining in the gloom, and one of them was mine,
And I knew that in God's Heaven they would still more brightly shine
And I knelt and prayed beside their holy light.

I knelt before that holy light, I looked into that holy light
I felt God's grace upon me by those candles' holy light.
Outside the evening gathered in, and I was tired from woe and sin,
But Jesus came to meet me in those candles' holy light.

I saw twelve angels carrying twelve prayers before the throne
Twelve prayers made to the Triune God, and one prayer was my own.
I looked into Our Lady's face, our Saviour's flesh and bone,
And her smile was gentle in that holy light.

Her smile was gentle in the light, her eyes were shining in the light
Mary our Mother held me by those candles' holy light.
The rain began to fall outside, and I was cold from all my pride
But the Holy Spirit warmed me in those candles' holy light.

I saw twelve candles flickering, so sad a sight to see,
Twelve spirits troubled by the world, and one of them was me.
But our Blessed Mother whispered: "There is peace eternally
In the land that lies beyond this holy light."

"The way is lit by holy light, the beacon is this holy light,
God's Kingdom is more peaceful than these holy candles' light.
This world is passing like a dream, but look and see the dawn's first gleam,
Your Father's Kingdom shining from these candles' holy light."


  1. That paints a mighty peaceful picture. And though it is scarcely the main point in this piece, the concise, striking way you underline Our Lady's role in the Incarnation (as you did in the lovely poem about the wedding at Cana last year) is exceptionally fine.
    I wish I could volunteer for the air-writing, but though I can cheerily butcher any sort of tune all day long, writing 'em does not seem to be my strong suit!

  2. Thanks Molly! And thanks for your kind comment about my Cana poem. That didn't get much reaction....I sent it to a Catholic magazine and never even got a reply. This is why I am appreciative of those people who do like the poetry!

    And I'm glad you like that it emphasises Our Lady's role in the Incarnation, because I do believe hymns should have a catechetical aspect to them. Like putting the word Triune into this hymn-- I hesitated over such a non-folksy word but then I thought, "No, it's important."

    I hope I'll write better hymns but I have to start somewhere. Although this sort of talk embarrasses us Catholics, I do feel called to it.

  3. And no worries if you don't feel up to adding an air. I bet you'd be good at it though!

  4. A beautiful piece of writing. You clearly have a real talent for expressing profound meaning poetically. Keep it up! Paul

  5. Thanks, Paul. I really and truly appreciate that.

  6. That was truly a great hymn Maolsheachlann. I loved it. I hope someone was able to meet your request. Did you want an organ in the song, or just singing. I know you said you preferred that one modern hymn you heard after the organist stopped playing.

  7. Thanks, Antaine. I was collaborating with a lady in my parish but we haven't done anything in a while. I don't remember if she put this one to song. I really want to get one performed, even if it's just in the local church.