Lighting Candles

Odessa’s cemetery is a forest
of granite, each grave with etched portraits.
A football star rests by a famous burglar.
We’re led to a few drab stones carved in Hebrew,
rescued from the Jewish cemetery
that was bulldozed for a petrol station.
We light Yarhzeit candles on *Rabinovitch’s tomb
and intone the Kaddish prayer,
Yitkadal v’yitkaddash shme rabbah….
Grandparents, Jacob, Sonia, Jack and Sarah,
their flames twinkle once more in Odessa’s sun.

*Osip Rabinovitch, known as the Father of Russian Jewish literature


Rachael Clyne is from Glastonbury, UK and is a poet published in journals and anthologies. Her collection, Singing at the Bone Tree (Indigo Dreams), concerns our broken relationship with nature. Her pamphlet, Girl Golem (, explores her Jewish migrant heritage and sense of otherness.

Rachel is taking part in a day-long, hybrid Poem-a-Thon fundraiser on Sunday 27th March 2022. Proceeds from the events will go to two charities presently working with partners in Ukraine and with their refugees: Goods for Good and Hope and Aid Direct. Sponsorship and other donations are being directed via their respective Go Fund Me
pages. Tickets for the events on 27 March are available from JW3 on a Pay What You Can basis. The Box Office is online or can be called on (020) 7433 8988. Find them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.