Digest>Archives> February 2003

Consider The Lighthouse

By Marion “Walt” Kyzer


Written in 1996


I walked the beach and heard the roar

Of waves now crashing on the shore

“Till there it was, I fixed my gaze

On that old monument to bygone days.

It looked so strong, so firm and proud,

A lighthouse well above the crowd

Of trees and rocks where it still sends

Its faithful signal to sailing friends.

Be on your guard, there’s danger here

Even the bravest must beware.

My mind went back to days of yore

When only that light marked this shore.

Each one unique by day or night

By structure paint or time of light.

Each mariner must identify

The code of each as they sail by.

Then measure angles, triangulate

A needed means to navigate

When stars are hid and seas are mean,

Their fate rides on that faithful beam.

The keepers knew their job so well.

Tote up the oil, clean the Fresnel.

Paint the day mark, keep it clean

For many miles, be clearly seen.

Install the curtains as dawn sets in.

Take them down when dusk begins.

Remote locations, with meager pay.

Pure sense of duty made them stay.

Climb the steps in heat or cold

And even though your legs feel old,

You mustn’t stop the work you do

Since seaman’s lives depend on you.

Crank up the weights that make it run

In snow and wind, rain or sun.

Work every day, though sick or fine

The light must always, always shine.

Then all night long, your vigil keep,

Up there on top, you must not sleep.

And, when with dawn your watch is done,

You hobble down to meet the sun.

Your families served just the same

As all those keepers with forgotten name.

No one says thanks. What’s there to show?

But in your heart, you know. You know!

Electric power made old lamps dated

And many towers were automated.

The keepers learned their time was through

And they must yield to systems new.

Then satellites in full space fleet

Made those old lights more obsolete

And soon just monuments of times long gone

Where tourists pause, and then move on.

But some will stop and think awhile

About those keepers and their lifestyle.

About those sailors, fearing danger near

Who saw that light that calmed their fear.

Now some still burn, while some are dark.

Some just curios in some state park.

You stood through storm, the rain and wind.

So, take your rest. Well done, old friend.

This story appeared in the February 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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