THE LIGHTHOUSE STARES BACK
The rain is blowing through the windows,
but distance remains: interrupted skyline,
phantom keepers shouting in the dark,
empty faced and unable to answer
questions about the origins of water.
We aren’t who we thought we were.
I do not blink, I ignore the sky;
the lighthouse stares back at me.
Tumbled silk and stonewashed cotton:
I am surrounded by shadows and sea.
The boats we made from wood and string
are outside on the garden shelves.
They’ve been there for years, I’m amazed
how well they’ve lasted. There were
other boats at our old house, an armada
of scraps and offcuts nailed together
to approximate ocean liners that sailed
across the roof of your play house.
I built that as well, but it was too big
to bring with us. I sometimes wonder
if it’s still there, unloved and used
for storage, or if another child has
claimed it as their own. It’s what we do,
isn’t it? Bring bits and bobs together,
try to make a home, a story, make sense
of what doesn’t, find ways to keep afloat.
Rupert Loydell has edited Stride magazine since 1982, and written poems since well before then. His many books include the recent publications Dear Mary (Shearsman, 2017) and The Co-ordinates of Doubt, a collaborative book with Daniel Y. Harris (KFS, 2017). He is a senior lecturer at Falmouth University, an international editor for X-Peri, and a contributing editor to International Times. He has written about Brian Eno, poetry and teaching, and post-punk music.