Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A lovestruck young lightkeeper annoys the crap out of an elderly colleague on Mew Island in the 1930s

 Mew Island in the 1930s (Copyright estate of Eileen Kates, used by permission.)

Hey Mr. Daly, I know you’re awake.
It’s only three hours until morning will break.
In her house near the town, I can see a wee light –
do you think that she’s thinking about me tonight?
I cannot play chess and I cannot play cards,
but quiz me again on the coastline of Ards.
Ask me who lives in yon house near the shore,
for it is the girl that I truly adore.
Oh, Mr. Daly, can you hear my heart pound?
I simply can’t wait for my leave to come round.
So fine is the morning, so calm is the sea,
I feel I could amble to Donaghadee.
I’ll walk to her door with a great, beaming smile
and ask her to walk up the lane for a while.
My boots will be polished, my uniform clean,
which is bound to impress a young girl of nineteen.
You’re up in the lantern? It’s the place I love most.
It gives the best view of her house by the coast.
The field full of cows on the hillside above –
tell me, Mr. Daly, were you ever in love?
This lantern shines brightly from dusk to sunrise
but the light that I have in my heart never dies.
She’ll be gazing at night at this great Fresnel beam
and thinking of me as she lays down to dream.
We met in the dancehall, three Friday nights gone
and twirled round the floor as the music played on.
And later that night, sure, I stole a brief kiss –
are you sure, Mr. Daly, I told you all this?
Shall I tell you again how we ran through the rain
back to her wee house at the end of the lane
and she gave me a passionate peck on the cheek?
Oh Lord, I can’t wait until next Friday week.
Ah, Mr. Daly, I’ve found you at last!
It’s lonely out here with just waves rolling past.
Let me tell you again of my newly-found flame –
my only regret is I don’t know her name.
We’ll be married in August and with any luck,
we’ll be transferred to somewhere like Mine Head or Hook
and we’ll have many children there, one of which who,
I promise, is going to be called after you.
Hey, Mr. Daly, I see you down there!
I can sing like a lark in this wee bosun’s chair.
As you asked, I have put a fourth coat on the wall
though I’m not sure the tower needs painting at all.