Light at the edge of the world

It takes both of us
to pull the door open
before I follow her
up to the light room,
climbing what appears
to be a thousand
spiral steps. At the top,
leaning on a bent rail
worn by old hands,
I am breathing hard,
like a Fleet Street runner,
as I ask what’s happened
to the lighthouse keepers.
We’re automated these days.
A man comes
biannually to clean.
She tidies sun-curled
leaflets in their cracked
plastic rack. The bulbs
are state of the art,
she says, so the machine
does one long burst
and three short flashes
just as we’ve always done.
I ask again, what’s happened
to the lighthouse keepers?



Matt Nicholson is a poet from East Yorkshire, he has been widely published, including three collections of poetry. He has performed all over Britain, and most recently made a film in support of his latest collection, Small Havocs. Website: