"Lighthouse on the Green"

Stewart Donovan

Fredericton’s red-capped lighthouse flying

its flags, pretending to be at sea, always

amazed my wife.  Like seeing a bull moose

shopping in the stores of King’s Place Mall,

or a bear at Odell giving tips on how to wax your skis.

How can a river have a lighthouse, my late love cried to me.


You see, we were once lighthouse keepers, guardians

of the magnifying glass, young romantics on the rocks,

bergy bits from Fogo Island, sea birds from Joe Batt’s Arm.

We often made love on the lighthouse floor, the great lamp

flashing to sea.  She was my nymph I was her lamp.

Tom Raddall.  Rattle his bones over the stones, only a keeper

nobody owns.  Lonely Lunenburg boy scouting out black holes,

white Sable Island sea horse forever flashing into the dark.


We’ll soon be extinct like the Eastern Auk,

beloved and drawn by Edward Lear.  Our plumage

all gone, no eggs in the nest, my dear wife and I came

to rest, flapped down in Fredericton’s Stork Manor Home.

An aviary of exhausted gulls, crooked crows, gray jays,

rheumatoid storks and cranes, old men with enormous wings,

old women with bare cannulae.  But still they dream of flying

high with herons when farmers begin their plowing.


Canada Day on the public green, my nymph called out

to her lamp:  Let’s make love in the lighthouse, she smiled.

But knowing my legs could not move, she covered my eyes

with the fog of her Hopewell Cape.  That night her light

went out to sea.  My nymph has departed.  I’m nothing but

a dong with a luminous nose.  Stork Manor’s barred me from

beer.  How can I keep my incandescence?  Burned-out bald-headed

bulb, my filament rattling round.  Sitting out here at 89, north

by northwest, in the fog of her Hopewell Cape.  I miss my nymph,

and that lighthouse looks lonely even among this crowd.

Source:  Donovan, Stewart.  The Molly Poems & Highland Elegies.  Breton Books, 2005.