Friday, 20 March 2015

The Unusual And Inspiring Quality Of The Light

This is a poem that I wrote about the eclipse this morning.


The Unusual And Inspiring Quality Of The Light

A man from the BBC -
a reporter from a
regional news program -
called at our place of work
with small film crew
in tow.

With one eye downcast
upon the makeshift pinhole cameras,
fashioned from teabag boxes,
that bobbed like shipwrecks
atop an overflowing
waste paper basket
in our lobby,
he enquired as to
our impressions
of the recent semi-eclipse.

We each thought back
to the muted gloom
of 9:30am. 
An overcast sky
like the inside
of a cataract
that revealed nothing.

And silently we pondered
and searched for the words
that would not mark us as liars
nor as failures, unable to find
anything profound in the
in the understated
magnificence of creation.

Sheila, as always, spoke first:
It was,” she said,
a bit like last Wednesday.”

Then Daniel, who
does watercolours,
remarked upon the unusual
and inspiring quality of the light.

But later he confided
that the light was poor
and he would never
have painted in it.

Agatha said that there
had been a cold wind.

While I, standing
behind and to one side of
the young researcher,
watched her write down
'cold wind?' in a notebook
as if awaiting confirmation
of this detail
from other sources,
possibly next door
at Abigail's Tearooms.

As the film crew
were getting ready to leave
Colin told them that,
on the way into work,
he had seen on the back
of a flat-bed lorry
an escalator
like the ones you get in department stores”
wrapped-up in plastic

The young researcher dutifully wrote
the word “escalator?” in her notebook
and they politely thanked us
and went on their way
and we never 
saw them again 
or our faces on
the local news.

But a few days later
in the free local paper
I saw a photograph
of an escalator
rampant on the
back of a truck

The picture taken
from a crouched position
at the foot of the
frozen metal stairs
with the camera pointed upward
towards the mid-morning dimness
where the sun
should have been.

They had captioned it
'Stairway to heaven'.

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