My candle burns at both ends
Late into the night,
And flickers fast,
And bounces in my sight.

My pen lies docile in my hand.
The page is silent now.
My eyes transfix;
My thoughts do mix;
The flame moves like her gown.

I see her sway
In silken dress
When we were by the bay.
Around her curves
The silk moves slow
As night approaches day.

Through the curtains
Runs the breeze,
Warm and salty too.
It grabs her gown,
A slow sweet sound,
And plays with waves of blue.

Then she fades
Into the flame
That pulls me back tonight.
It flickers on;
My pen moves on;
It burns into the night.


Carter Davis Johnson is an English major and cadet at the Virginia Military Institute. He grew up in Roanoke, Virginia.

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10 Responses

    • Carter Davis Johnson

      Thank you for your generous compliment. I share your appreciation of form.

  1. David Watt

    ‘Candle’ elevates the female form, and quite fittingly, takes an interesting form itself. I enjoyed your poem on the first reading, and more so on the second.

    • Carter Davis Johnson

      I am glad you enjoyed the poem. I try to capture a brief moment of distraction, a wandering mind connecting the movement of the dress and flame. It involves the rhythm of work and the preoccupation of the mind. The concept of elevation is a well-spoken observation. Thank you.

  2. Connor Rosemond

    Excellent symbolism! While I may prefer your previous poem ‘Winter Whispers’, this holds up as a quite talented work as well. Keep writing!

    • Carter Davis Johnson

      Thank you for the kind remarks. I think the enigmatic and elusive nature of a flame can often be a fitting symbol for the mystery and strength of a woman. As Oscar Wilde put it, “Women are meant to be loved, not understood.”

  3. E.V.

    This poem was very enjoyable! It feels like the reader is in the room beside you, as you temporarily yield to inspiration.


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