CANDLES AT CHRISTMASTIME from Staughton and Alice Lynd, Master Teachers of Life and Love

Alice and Lynd Staughton standing next to one another


©2019 by Staughton and Alice Lynd


Measured by numbers
We have lived 89 and 90 years.
Strangers ask us,
“How long have you two
Been married?”  And we answer,
“68 years.”
Gardeners have their own way
To sum things up.
Watching, touching, sniffing
They can tell
A sturdy plant with deep roots
And lovely leaves.
Each of us had to cast aside
Parental attitudes
And our own preconceptions.
Alice perceived that academic life
Would be two-dimensional for Staughton
Even if covered by ivy.
In quiet and retiring Alice
There was discovered
A formidable talent for detail.
Her ability to help
Became legendary.
Weaving these two
Hidden selves together
Was challenging.  We trace
The beginnings of convergence
To an evening when we sat together
Beside a peaceful little lake
Near Cambridge, Massachusetts
Called Fresh Pond.
We don’t know how it was
With Joseph and Mary.
Did he as “head of household”
Make the decision to flee to Egypt?
Where was Joseph
When his son was crucified
And asked his father
“Why hast thou forsaken me”?
Our Bethlehems
Are near at hand.
We must accompany
Each other
Past the doorway of the inn
Where Christmas revels
Are in noisy progress.
See, the hay here is sweet
Even if prickly.
We can surround this baby
With our love.
We can see each other
Once again
And emerge from the shadows.
We can prove
That four hands can move barriers
Too heavy for just a pair.
We can light our candles here.


Staughton and Alice


Staughton Lynd taught History when I was a student at Spelman College in Atlanta.  He marched with us against the terrorism of segregation and then went to Hanoi, Vietnam  to rescue Truth and some of our soldiers who had no idea where they were.

I wonder:  Days before I had to leave this college because of  my own unwelcome attitude of rebellion, did these two confer, perhaps while peeling potatoes for dinner and watching over their children’s play: I think we’d better help Alice get out of here.  What do you think? Oh, I do think so!  Definitely.  And so,  in the middle of winter, saving my life, the one I might choose myself,  they sent me North. The rest, as they say, is history. And hers.

Thank you, Beloveds.

The other Alice