The Lighthouse Keeper [Poem]

like a blanket
stretched over the sky
making heavy
the world’s eyes
and drawing the lighthouse keeper
from the comfort
of his bed.

it was said
that he never slept,
in truth, the lighthouse keeper
laid in darkness
through sunshine days
so that he was accustomed
at all times
to the night
and its horrors.

If you ever chanced upon him
by day
he might say
what he said to me
on that otherwise unremarkable
midsummer day:

can see beyond the horizon
in those first minutes
of the night –
In the air
I can smell danger
see ships
devoured by the rocks.

I can feel the souls
of sailors
scattered all along this shore.

The more I see
of the night the more I fear.
Nowhere is how little
we truly are
more clear.
Let it be said that
my first friend here
and she shall be
my last.
She will have my back
to my dying day.”

He spoke no more
and was gone
and though I saw him no more,
I have heard it said that
though his light
was never extinguished
and no ship perished on his shores
he died young
with grey hair
and skin-spots
and the same weary eyes
I saw all those years before
because that fear
and the ghosts
only he could see
consumed his life
out in that lonely lighthouse.

Photo by Danish Prakash on Unsplash

On DVerse today, the challenge is to write a poem in the voice of a fictional character. It can be any character you like, and you can introduce it in your own voice if you choose (à la Coleridge, though I certainly wouldn’t insist on this) but the main body of the poem must be in the voice of your character.

36 thoughts on “The Lighthouse Keeper [Poem]

  1. I really enjoyed your tale of the haunted lighthouse keeper: haunted not by ghosts, but by the real-life horrors he had seen:

    ‘Nowhere is how little
    we truly are
    more clear.’

    These lines really struck me. ‘Alone on a wide, wide sea’ springs to mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I so love his story specially that part of the fear being the first friend and last. A lonely man but he was fulfilled by his mission of saving the souls of sailors.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The sense of one imprisoned with his thoughts, mulling them over and over again is so very exquisitely portrayed in this narrative poem, Evan! I applaud you! 💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a stirring tale, one not to be easily forgotten. I really like how you introduced the character and then let him speak.

    I saw a movie a year or so ago, “The Lighthouse,” with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in it. It was a real mind bender. I cannot even imagine being a lighthouse keeper alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve always been fascinated by lighthouses, there’s a wonderful red and white striped one not far from where I live. Your haunting poem takes us back to a time when lighthouse keepers lived in their remote towers – and some of them did go mad with loneliness and dark horrors. Have you seen the film ‘The Lighthouse’ with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe? I love the way you set the scene in the opening stanza, Evan, and the image of the keeper lying in darkness through sunshine days, feeling the souls of sailors scattered all along the shore and being slowly consumed by them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Let it be said that
    my first friend here
    and she shall be
    my last.
    She will have my back
    to my dying day.”

    THAT right there is magnificent. The tenor of his life encapsulated in so few, yet so expansive verbiage. I like the use of “life out” as homage to “light out” fitting for his profession. You open and close this with such vivid imagery so lonely and haunting, I can feel its chilled touch. And I have to confess a part of me likes that this best friend of his is thought of as feminine.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There is so much great about this poem. I love the shapes you created (which is inspiring for my revision post tomorrow). I especially enjoyed the internal rhyme of “hair” and “weary.” I also thought the lines:
    “I can feel the souls
    of sailors
    scattered all along this shore.”
    Were especially vivid and fun in this narrative.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This poem conveys the heaviness of aloneness in thoughts so well! It also does a great job at capturing honor in duty. I enjoyed the contrast that he died young but didn’t fail at his occupation. Must’ve been a translator too 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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