Raise a Fist, Light a Candle, Hold Tight

Raise a First, Light a Candle, Hold Tight

By Megan Dowd Lambert


Sometimes we march to call for change.

Sometimes we march to celebrate.

We march in protest of what’s wrong.

We march for love to counter hate


But other times a march won’t do,

no, other times we





We come together in a vigil,

still and strong, with candles bright.

We come together, heads bowed low,

our memories sharp, hearts open wide.


But no matter if we call a protest,

or stand in vigil side-by-side,

when times demand we join as one

we hold our purpose in our minds:


We claim space.

We say no.

We make change.

We forge hope.


And in our assembly we remake the promise—

though we may face walls and worse—

that we are stronger when we’re together,

listening, striving, doing the work.


So when in joy or righteous rage

we see each other showing up,

we draw strength and sustenance

from goodness, hope, and all the love.


Join in the protest, child, come to the vigil,

raise a fist, light a candle, hold tight

to the people beside you, before you, still coming

to help make things whole, to help make things right.


This poem was inspired by a friend who is attending the Women’s March on Washington today, January 21, 2017, with her wife and their two children, and it’s for all children learning about and contributing to movements for social justice.


Raise a Fist, Light a Candle, Hold Tight — 6 Comments

  1. Thank you for this beautiful poem. “…we draw strength and sustenance from goodness, hope, and all the love.” Without goodness and love there is no hope. My wife and I were at the Boston march, and it gave us hope because it was full of love, and your poem captures its spirit. Our hope is that people will continue to assemble with a spirit of love, whatever else is happening around us.

    From Dickens, Great Expectations: “There have been occasions in my later life (I suppose as in most lives) when I have felt for a time as if a thick curtain had fallen on all its interest and romance, to shut me out from anything save dull endurance any more.”

    We must nurture hope.

    • Thank you for your kind words, and for the Dickens quotation! Here’s another:

      “And O there are days in this life, worth life and worth death. And O what a bright old song it is, that O ’tis love, ’tis love, ’tis love that makes the world go round!” from Our Mutual Friend

      My 19 year-old-son went to the protest in Boston a week after the Women’s March in support of refugees and immigrants, and I’m heartened by ongoing efforts–in the streets, in contacting government officials, in donations to groups leveraging the power of checks and balances, and in artistic work, among other areas–to resist the politics of division, oppression, and hatred.

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