Sunday, December 24, 2023

A lighthouse keeper greets Christmas morning


Once upon a time I used to write poems. Not much serious stuff because I never really got it but bits of doggerel, humorous verse that went da-dum-da-dum, da-dum-da-dee. Did it for many years until I realised there was no money it.
Anyhow, occasionally, if in one of my non-flippant moods, I used to write serious poetry. Seamus Heaney, no less, once said of me, "Who?" This is one I wrote over ten years ago, called

A lighthouse keeper greets Christmas morning

The flamingo pink sun has flicked its first
gossamer lines over the horizon
and is now reeling in this special day.
For once, the sea is flat and calm and grey,
the dancing sparkles chatting like children.

Since dark midnight I have carved and painted
the final piece and placed him in the crib,
among the seals and selkies, the shrill gulls
and fishermen, the rocks and the jetty.
The refraction above casts deep shadows.

Doubtless, my children will be washed and dressed;
They will have trailed the path across the fields
to Mass, the goose still draining on the nail.
My wife will wear her special hat, with wild
white heather pinned proudly to the wide brim.

I must put the kettle on for Wallace.
His hob-nail boots will soon be clattering
up the spiral steps like a prisoner
embracing the gallows. The poor wretch feels
this time of year worse than Doyle and myself.

And then it will be time for me to dowse
the burner that I have nurtured nightly
throughout the endless hours of deep winter.
Sailors, rest well. There will be light enough
today to illuminate the whole world.

Merry Christmas, everybody, 
wherever you are.

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