Fresh: The Old Lights by Liz Searle

The Old Lights

I followed the flick flick flick of a red eye
from my window for the last time tonight.
Gazing as the fire burned away to orange
and into amber-I didn’t catch the change.

A beautiful line against the sunset
echoed down my street for one last show.
They’re taking them out tomorrow;
putting in new ones with bright white light.

At the first one being pulled out months ago I was excited
like a kid watching a digger-like me, watching a digger.
I only realised later what this meant for us;
things will never look the same again.

We will lose our glow, our beads of light
stringing the streets across the hills.
Showing us the way home, golden aura
by golden aura, between fog and rain and night.

I’m hurt on behalf of these old lamps
I used to be so awed by them – my mum
told me once how the sodium vapour
makes the air glow, charged and bottled.

Now they lean, weatherbeaten and rusted
municipal green paint flecks on fluted coats.
Their replacements already behind them
steely, silent, poised to take over.

Your jaunty angle won’t save you now
I warn these crumpled silent film stars.
Usurped and consigned to history
resigned to being redundant.

The old lights are going out tomorrow.


Liz Searle has been performing stand up poetry at open mics since she attended her first Gorilla Poetry (Sheffield, UK) event in December 2013. She is a member of Heeley Women Writers Group and also arranges and performs as part of Juxtavoices, Sheffield’s anti-choir.

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