DAEL ALLISON

           Lighthouse 1882

Science and endeavour reduced
to a failing point of flickering light.
No foundering craft can bear the
burden of defence against wildness.

All that light, 10,000 candles yet
no sight had through the battered dark,
and above the overturning rage of waves her
banshee wail; Help us John!

Beyond the useless light the night is
solid. Glued by keening air he is a
straining point high above the
grind of sea and rocks.

Palms and knuckles white, fear
has him clamped to the rail at the
trembling rim of the light’s eye
unseeing, ears straining to the din of sky.

Her voice a shadow slit in the searing
bright, shrill as tearing silk
rending life from him. Wife,
both sons, mind and heart unstrung.

All that is certain riven, driven by
wind shriek too soon upon the shore.
The earth lurches at the boiling brim
of sea. He leans to hear again her cry

and know it true; that here in the sky
at world’s end the world is ending.