KEEP THE LIGHT BURNING

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Miles off land's end, beyond the water's edge
Cemented on a wave-swept, offshore ledge
Submerged at high tide, slowly eaten by the seas
Where the colors of the coastal town froze in the breeze
A Cyclopian eye spilled bright, amber rays
Flashed warnings till morning through the lashing spray
Guided mariners through currents and jagged rocks
A fortress built from algae-covered granite blocks
I climbed the winding staircase, purple twilight descended
My footsteps echoed through the ambient tower
Lit the a fire and fed it to the hungry wick
The oil flame bloomed like a yellow flower
Heard the gears of the clockwork grinding and turning
Designed to KEEP THE LIGHT BURNING

I made my rounds in the cycle of routine
Hauled in the lobster traps, cleaned the machine
Clung to the railing, wiped soot from the glass
Checked the reflectors and polished the brass
Drifting gulls in the air, basking sharks in the ocean
The clamshell lens wheeled in a circular motion
To the hypnotic rhythm of beam and eclipse
The sea-lanes were crawling with boats and ships
They set their sails and looked out for whales
My telescope was aimed at the harbor town
Longed to see my Jenny on the windblown jetty
Poured a whiskey and watched the Titian sun go down
For all I could do was dreaming and yearning
And try to KEEP THE LIGHT BURNING

Loneliness and isolation made me wise
Romance and nostalgia, but I longed to escape
Before the gleam of madness crept into my eyes
Stories turned into legends on capes and coasts
The ghosts of keepers who never left their post

Phantoms of mist rolled up the red cliffs
The fog bell tolled through the serpentine drifts
The water receded, writhing ocean brood died
A graveyard of shipwrecks exposed by low tide
Searched for pirate loot in skeleton hulls
Scavenged doubloons from barrels and skulls
Back at the landing the ground started shaking
Eels and dogfish rushed in, flood waves were breaking
The deluge devoured the fog's mystic glow
Fled the torrents on the staircase to the lantern room
Sheltered from the furies of the howling storm
Surrounded by roiling madness and gloom
I watched the green-water boiling and churning
Determined to KEEP THE LIGHT BURNING

2014 Alex Schaetzing. All Rights Reserved.