That Old Light on the Hill

By | 24 July 2007

I dreamt up a little verse –
and in my mind, a circus-ground
of sound, it neatly rhymed
before this telling (inevitably)
brings it worse.

In fog, a weary one did
climb an old stone
staircase, spiralling, echoing
ocean, up to the lamp.

There, a stamp, as of
ideology, glowed above
its chamber doorway
(apparently, marking
politics, as well as
other systems of love).

Strangely, the lamp then spoke:
I, whom navigators adore,
cannot show safety
to one ashore, but perhaps
you sought a different.

A different, yes, the weary
said. Normally I
seek it left – but try not
to be blind a-starboard
or blind straight ahead.
Permit a weary word,
therefore, and tell me:

The lamp responds to
tide and time alone,
so shone to the right
that long, dark, cold,
foggy night, revealing
warships on the waves
and massing troops
and tanks on cliff-tops.

Which made one search
forlornly to the left,
unlit as it was, and
shrouded in the fog,
finding almost nothing
save the great black-blue
and silver surf – which was
hardly a discovery
in and of itself.

And so one searched
a little longer, and a
little longer still.

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