Jul 152014

Threnody on the Death of a Street Lamp
on Lollard Street, SE11

O noble lantern ’neath whose kindly fire

my love and I did oft together lark –

our bodies, lust-engorged, ’twined in desire –

why hast thou gone and left us in the dark?

Sweet Eddystone who steered us to our beds,

your detumescent stem now sapless lies;

and night-whelmed waifs must tilt their A-to-Zs

and hope to catch some starlight from the skies

while nap-skulled Vauxhall hard-men, heads low bowed,

remember, as they blanch at your snapped stalk,

how that hot wick so lately o’er them towered

to lick with light the girls of Lambeth Walk.

Unlicked, my love beside me wraps her hair

around a finger as I contemplate

how you and I are something of a pair,

sad Pharos of the Ethelred Estate.

And, while I muse upon my own lamp’s lack

and how my once full beam now mostly dips,

my love eyes yonder chimney’s upright stack,

a wistful smile of longing on her lips.

(as declaimed to Matt Haynes)

This piece originally appeared in Smoke 5.

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this poem then you’ve probably also been affected by those in Threnody on the Suicide of a Parking Meter in Dagenham Brook, E10.

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