“Song of the Candle”

A song from the 1970’s by theΒ  late Stan Rogers (1949-1983). An interesting retrospective on life perhaps? Enjoy!


I took up my pen tonight. I couldn’t seem to write
It’s like I got religion and then I lost the light
An old woman once told me she’d always felt that way…
She said “Taken from the mold while it still can run
A candle might not keep you from the cold
But buy another candle, son, it’s not too much to pay
For one more try.” And I had to smile
Before I walked away

Coffee houses bother me. I cannot tell you why
But, it never seems “Hello” sounds as sweet as “Goodbye”
And the waitresses, in passing, will remember all your names…
They say look around and try to meet a single eye
And empty cups will mock me if I stay, but
“Buy another coffee, Stan, now it’s not too much to pay
And we will try to raise your smile
Before you walk away”.

Tonight in a room full of candles another cup of ashes drains away
And, at times, it gets so hard to handle
Knowing one more simple song has swiftly taken wing
And I’m left alone to hear the song a lonely candle sings

The priest, I found, was nervous. He cleared his throat a lot
But, framed in stained glass windows, his eyes were lost in thought
And I said “Father, can you tell me … is some happiness my right?”
He said “Rather seek you joy, the blessings of your God
And happiness from worship in his sight
And buy another candle son, before you start to pray
And don’t forget to cross your breast
Before you walk away

Tonight in a room full of candles, another drop of madness drains away
And at times it gets so hard to handle
Knowing one more simple song has swiftly taken wing
And I’m left alone to hear the song a lonely candle sings

One too many cigarettes, slowly burning down
And the final cup of coffee was cold and full of grounds
And maybe one last pipeful might send the words around
Still, underneath my hands this night has slipped away
And it leaves me as empty as this page
One more candle flickers out, the night is turning grey
And I just can’t watch the dying flame
I have to walk away

So, tonight I have burned all my candles
Leaving only ashes in their wake
And at times, I get so hard to handle
‘Cause simple songs leave me behind, they all have taken wings
And I’m left alone to hear the song a lonely candle sings…

15 thoughts on ““Song of the Candle”

  1. This song was worth the wait. πŸ™‚
    I knew I recognized the voice and the name, but didn’t realize why until I read your comment to Rita about the “Mary Ellen Carter” song. That may be my favorite one, but I did enjoy this one too. Makes you think. I now am curious to work through the list that you compiled in reply to Ellen’s comment. I did listen to the “Lock-Keeper” song before. I specifically remember you mentioning that song to me, for I had to ask you what a Lock-Keeper was. πŸ™‚

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  2. Stan Rogers had a voice that was unequaled, at least to me. I love this song and the title song on the album too. Among my favorites, and there are many, are “Lies” on the 1981 Northwest Passage album and “Lock-Keeper” on the posthumous 1984 From Fresh Water album. Just to add a bit to your comment to Rita. Smoke caused the Air Canada plane to make an emergency landing in Kentucky. The crew and many passengers had safely disembarked but a flash fire caused the death of the remaining people, Stan Rogers among them. I do not recall the total amount of lives lost anymore, at least 20 I think. Thank-you for another excellent Stan Rogers post!

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    • Hi Ellen. It’s always good to get your Comments. My Stan Rogers favourites are:
      First Christmas
      White Squall
      Tiny Fish for Japan
      The Field behind the Plow
      The Mary Ellen Carter
      Song of the Candle
      MacDonnell on the Heights


  3. I have never heard of him. This song blew me away, even though no one but he would know exactly what he meant in every word, it was so personally from the heart. Looks like he died very young, too. Thanks for sharing this. New follower. πŸ™‚

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