The Old Lighthouse

The old lighthouse still stands,
But the light that shines is dim.
The keeper's there,
Slowly climbing the steps
To tend the light,
His energy long since spent.
He reaches the top and looks out
To the ocean in all its mystery and beauty,
A vastness that defies description,
And he remembers...
There were ships this light has helped,
Some from trouble in rough waters
And many from a distance
As they passed through the night.
Perhaps even one or two that
Would have crashed on the rocks.
But now the light grows dim
So he turns to polish the glass
That still tries to reflect the light
And he remembers...
There were children who used to come
He would tell them stories to teach them
That they might become strong ships
Or even keepers of other lights
But they come no more to this place
And he misses those times.
He turns now and descends,
His gnarled old hand laid
Gently on the curving iron railing
And he remembers...
Friends of his had climbed these stairs,
They had shared stories, laughter, and love.
Some had helped to tend the light,
Patch the walls, paint the rail...
But the visits slowly stopped
And no one came by anymore.
Stepping outside, he stops to watch
The setting sun and feel the mist
From the waves breaking on the rocks
And he remembers...
Being alone is nothing new to him,
And watching a chattering flock of birds
That pass overhead, he knows that all is well.
Loneliness is his companion,
And though the light that shines is dim,
The old lighthouse still stands.

copyright 1996
Tim Murphy
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