Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Lighthouse
A lighthouse keeper,
A foolish dream,
A trade of times past.
Yet the desire is as present
As the beacon in the night.
A light of comfort in purport,
It served only to frighten me.
The siren call of the tugboat
Haunts into my reveries.
Life sacrificed for a lighthouse,
What a folly thought.
Was the tale a parable,
Or did neurosis truly save
That which could give no thanks?
A starlit night
Projected across the sky.
Each star is lighthouse.
Refuge can be found in the moon,
Claimed the spritely sprite.
The memory transports me to the bedroom,
To Maine, to Bailly, to an airplane.
All is pleasant, all is beautiful,
All is unbearable hurt.
One cannot choose their birthplace.
One cannot choose a fondness for the sea.
Santiago, Ishmael, Marlow, Nemo,
All so foreign and appealing to me.
As enchanting as the lighthouse that I rarely see.
We possess an anachronistic view,
Or perhaps it is just me.
Made of stone no more,
But in their place steel and iron.
Gone are the omniscient keepers.
In their stead are electronics and timers.
I remember the ocean swell.
The salty air graced my olfactories with novel stimuli.
Castles erected from sand,
Friends made for mere hours.
Memories inevitably lost to time.
Never fade away
A loneliness, a silence,
Only the sound of the sea in the air.
A zenlike separation from all the mess in notion,
An exercise in abject boredom in practice.
Light is seen as good,
Light is seen as just.
Beautiful people are radiant.
Lighthouses guide ships to safety with their lodestar.
Fires help in the cold dark with their warm flare.
Yet when migraines rear their ugly head
Darkness once again becomes an old friend.
In the middle of the sea,
In the pitchest of blacks,
Seeing only the starry zodiac.
No light from houses,
Nor lighthouses seen.
That is when one is truly alone.
My vessel rocks me,
Unsteady as my heartbeat.
The lighthouse’s beam fades into a twinkle,
And then it is gone, the last thing I see.
I desperately hope that,
Upon my return the rest of the world has remained as constant, as clear.
The rocky structure juts out of the stony outcropping.
It is nigh indistinguishable from the crag between flashes of lightning.
The lighthouse is abandoned, a relic of yesteryear.
In its place stands a modern replacement, bearing less fantastic splendor.
The air traffic control tower sits in the middle
Of a hectic land full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Old. Both lighthouses and their keepers are old.
I figure I will never be old.
Perhaps I will one day be outdated.
Perhaps I already am.