Dignified, above the crowd,
Sturdy, straight, and tall,
With head held high against the sky,
She stood surveying all.
She'd been there for one hundred years,
A matriarch of sorts,
Destined for one hundred more,
Built to run the course.
Most folks took her for granted,
And paid her no-never-mind,
The only time they noticed her
Was when her light bulb didn't shine.
At the entry to the park
Was where the lady took her stand,
Like a sentry there on duty,
Alert, aware, and in command.
In the daytime, birds flocked round her,
Some even perched upon her head,
Some folks scattered seeds beneath her,
To see those little ones were fed.
In the evening, a whole new role,
A place where giggling teens convened,
Sometimes strolling lovers,
Often vendors with ice-cream.
The only show of warmth, perhaps.
For a homeless soul at night
Was the spot of artifical cheer,
Which shone from that old light,
A light to reassure a lass,
Walking frightened and alone,
Like a beacon in the dark,
Safely guiding her back home.
Torrential rains or sleet or hail,
Or frigid winds with snow,
Might make her tremble - make her sway,
But could not take away her glow.
As strong as nature seemed to be,
It could not sap her might.
Winter, summer, fall, or spring,
No season dimmed her light.
Stalwart, steadfast, resolute,
Defiant to the sky,
Almost as if she shook her fist,
And cried, "You cannot make me die!"
For the many years she stood there,
Dependable and strong,
Never once did the thought occur
Her days were numbered and not long.
The only fear of her demise,
That could end her shining hour,
Were the humans that measured out
Her life sustaining power.
Updating was her undoing,
She was considered as debris,
Her light was quenched, and it went out,
In the wake of corporate greed.
The old lamppost was taken down,
And replaced by a pole of steel,
White, arcing lights upon its top,
No warmth and no appeal.
Computerized and modernized,
Progress is what they called it,
Oh yes, it lit the streets all right,
And put big bucks in pockets.
Under the guise of improvement,
Which bore a modicum of truth,
Something of us went with that lamp,
The final bits of our youth.
Pride of the past - love of its charm,
Now only parts in old men's hearts,
And in old men's memories.
Oh, the light will light up every night,
But no glow of warmth up there,
Proficient and efficient,
But not a soul will care.
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright February 2004