Paul MaDellan

Hold out a Candle in the Night

Paul MaDellan
Paul Madellan


In the U.K. there was a time when power strikes were quite frequent and unexpected, especially at night. One dangerous craze in our area was to obtain a large empty coffee tin (from a cafe) pierce it with small holes and fit a metal chain so it could be held safely. Then we would fill the can with paper, wood, and coal and ignite it. When swung round by holding the chain, the can would blaze into life.


I was heading on for home one frosty evening when all the kids were playing on the street, with tin cans perced with holes, and filled with burning coals, on a rusty chain that danced around their feet. As a band played on that stirred the hearts of angels, a wild cat strike was looking pretty grim. Someone pulled the switch and the lights began to dim. Hold out a candle in the night. I was heading on for home one frosty evening a cold night air was really set to bite. The kids along the street, held fire cans at their feet, that flickered on like candles in the night.