The poem, “A Birthday Candle” is a poem by Donald Justice. This poem is the 77th poem in the poetry 180 website. This poem is a very short poem, which has six lines in one stanza.
I think this whole poem is a one big metaphor, simile using a birthday candle and a birthday. In the first line, the speaker mentions, “Thirty today”. This simply means that the speaker has turned to thirty years old. “I saw The trees flare briefly like a candles on a cake”. This part uses a simile. This part expresses how the speaker saw the sunlight shining behind the trees, flaring briefly like the fire flaring softly on the candles of a birthday cake.
“As the sun went down the sky, A momentary flash, Yet there was time to wish”. This part is a metaphor as well. “As the sun went down at the sky”. This line expresses how the candle is about to be blown away. When the sun goes down the sky, the light goes dimmer and dimmer. This is the same as the candle. You can see that the momentary flash in this part is when the fire on the candle is blown away. “Yet there was time to wish”. I think this part is explaining that a day goes very fast, even a birthday. So the speaker wanted to show how a birthday can go away very quick like how the candle is blown very fast.
This poem is a very short poem with many metaphors and similes. The whole poem is mainly a simile and a metaphor. By this, it is quite hard to understand at first. I understood the whole meaning after reading it for around three times. I think Donald Justice uses similes and metaphors in a unique way. This poem is a free verse, which has no regular rhyme or rhythm to the poem. This poem also gave me a simple imagery of the sun going down the sky with the trees, then a birthday candle being blown away.
The poem, A Birthday Candle by Donald Justice