Gwen Suominen

The Lonely Lighthouse Keeper


I was a lonely lighthouse keeper

I lived at the edge of the sea

High on a rock in a tower

No one bothered me

No one heard my music

No one heard me sing

I climbed the stairs

I could even swear

I watched the birds on the wing.

When it was very stormy

I went outside to look

I’d see the waves come crashing round

Then I’d go back to my book.

Sometimes I’d take photographs

Of the beautiful sea

and the sky it was quite splendid

The show was all for free

I’d listen to the radio

The shipping and weather reports

And look at navigational maps and holiday resorts.

I liked my life in the lighthouse

Keeping a vigil at night

More than one alarm went off

When it was time to light the lights.

It’s nice to live in a beacon

That all the ships can see

When it’s very dark and stormy

They’re all glad of me.

I had a few plants and a cat

His name was Shakespeare’s dog

He didn’t seem to mind the fact

That I couldn’t take him for a walk

I missed the trees and flowers

I missed a lot of things

I missed having a garden

And little kids on swings

I liked my ivory tower

it was safe and warm and dry

I’d listen to the rain at night

And wonder mostly why?

Why the beautiful sky was blue

Why the sea was green

I knew the name of every cloud

That I had ever seen.

I had a lovely telescope

Of course I watched the stars

I studied constellations

I read stuff about Mars.

Sometimes they’d visit me

And bring supplies in case

Two magazines, tons of cigarettes

Some booze so I could get out of my face.

I had four computers

All were linked together

Loads of information

All about the weather.

Of course I had a telephone

And a very large T.V.

A V.C.R. a choice of tapes and a D.V.D.

Sometimes I want to swap my life

And live amongst the trees

Instead I am a shipping zone

Amidst the seven seas.

On Sundays I light candles

I watch them flicker and burn

I write a few lines of a poem

Water my asparagus fern.

Of course I e-mail everyone

And if I don’t watch out

The phone will ring somewhat late at night

And my boss will begin to shout.

So now when I write to people

When I’m drunk and all alone

I remember to tear them into bits

Remember not to phone.

I have a large collection

Feathers of every kind

And shells and bits of coral

And photographs, signed.

So when the T.V. gets too much

I simply turn it off

Go back to the computers

Take Benylin for my cough.

I was a lonely lighthouse keeper

But it didn’t bother me

I had a job, I had a house

I lived in a beautiful sea.

I saw the crashing waves all round

I watched sunrise and set

I wore a plastic mackintosh

And a hat when it was wet.

I’d stand at the top of the lighthouse

With a coffee in my hand

It was such strong espresso

That I could barely stand.

there are other lighthouse keepers

Other folk like me

Some of them live on the land

And others live at sea.

It must be nice to walk around

And take the bus to town

Or go abroad on holiday

And have your skin go brown

I have to end this poem now

It’s getting far too long

I am growing old and weak

But the light is always strong.

I am part of the sea now

The sea is part of me

And I can see and see and see

I can see the beautiful sea.


Images and text

© Gwen Suominen 2006