Candles At Noon
Published 1966
Copyright by Elaine Walker Ledbetter

Poetry Samples
Candles at Noon

At dawning I strained with eagerness,
Impatient to begin an adventurous day,
But by noon a host of frustrations
Had nibbled the air of excitement away.

Then the Master of Life revealed to me
The secret of inner serenity:
"If you would keep your spirit immune
To defeat from dawn until dusk,
Withdraw and light these candles at noon:
    The candle of courage
    To do what must be done;
    The candle of faith
    That victory will be won;
    The candle of love
    Without which all the rest
    Will suddenly cease to burn.
    Let these restore your zest."

So now when discouragement threatens,
When my dreams collapse too soon,
I pause to recapture His presence
And light three candles at noon.

One Transfigured Hour

I stood upon a mountain top one day
And for the briefest time a vision came
Revealing in magnificent display
The destiny my life was meant to claim
A Presence near---
    A call so clear---
Engulfed me in the power
Of that transfigured hour.

I longed to stay, but duty called below.
Descent was difficult and soon my feet
Were plodding through the valley mud. The glow
Grew dim and the mists of darkness cried defeat.
And then it came---
    He called my name---
Releasing memory
To bear my spirit high and free.

Because one day I stood upon the peak
All bathed in golden light and heard His voice,
No valley night will be too bleak,
No despair so deep but I can still rejoice.
For having known---
    And having grown---
All values I now measure
Against that bright, remembered treasure.

My Gifts
Each time I pause
To think upon the vast array
Of gifts bestowed
Unearned, unsought upon my way,
I bow in deep humility.

The more I have
The more I owe. How great my debt!
God, prick my heart
With pointed pain should I forget
My trust and use them selfishly.


I was a brown cocoon before you came,
Confined to darkness and content to dwell
Within the limits of my narrow shell.
But when you came my soul began to stir,
And one day it emerged from earthbound things
To soar through sunlit skies on brilliant wings!

Private Everest

Courageous men have agonized through untold time,
Surviving avalanche, defying death, with mind
Benumbed by lack of food and oxygen and rest,
Ignoring cold that froze their feet and made them
Sustained entirely by the goal they held sublime-
To stand at any cost upon the peak of Everest.

Behold your private Everest, all you who dare
    to dream,
Knowing lonely, day by day assault on spirit peaks,
Without acclaim, demands persistence even
    more supreme!


We severed every bond between us
With strokes as deft and sure
As any surgeon's knife - - -
All save one.
The tenuous thread of memory
Lay too near the seat of life.


Is a yellow crocus bloom
Encased in ice proclaiming spring.

Is a tender aspen shoot
Rising in the wake of fire.

Is a colored college student
Storming walls of prejudice.

Thanksgiving Song

I will take the days we shared
Our whole life ling
And weave from them a hymn of praise---

Our joys will be the melody,
Tears the deeper part;
The words you may not ever know
Unless you read my heart.

A Teacher's Prayer

Let me spend myself today
Fulfilling every need I can,
From the heartbreak of a child at play
To the loneliness of a tired old man.

Let me challenge youthful minds;
Disburb and frustrate, probe, inspire,
Until each in his own way finds
His all-consuming shaft of fire!


The choice is ours: to walk the valley floor
In dim shadows of security
And make of love a blasphemy
By nursing pallid dreams too weak to soar;
Or to dare the challenge of the peak
Where cosmic music of the spheres
Submerge dark dangers laced with fears,
Where rainbows through the mists of midnight streak.

What Is Reality?

Philosophers and scientists speak
    with great authority
Upon the subject of reality.
But I have known enough of heaven tinged
    with hell,
And enough of hel with heaven's touch,
    that I can never tell
Just where to draw the line with certainty.

Unseen Companion

We cannot walk together, dear,
And yet we never part.
I find that anywhere I go
You stay within my heart.
Loneliness must walk with you
Ast it walks with me,
But we are bound together, dear,
For all the time to be.

The Accursed

What devil's trick was it
That placed within our separate bodies
These twin minds so much alike,
Yet each with unique facets that complement the other,
And decreed that we should
Only briefly savor
The perfection of their unity?
What infamous sin have we committed
That such tantalizing torture
Has cursed us for eternity?

Modern Calvary
Click on title to see poem and associated music


Through boundless skies
Across uncharted space the wild bird flies,
Directed by some inner force
He does not comprehend;
Through light and darkness,
Wind and rain,
Until exhausted
He finds the sanctuary he seeks.

What fate determined
I should make my way across
An untold wilderness of time,
Through doubt and sadness,
Love and fear,
Toward an unknown, unplanned rendevous
To rest with you?


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