Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: The Last Lamp-Lighters
Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate
Kenneth Rosen of Portland is a veteran poet and the founder of the Stonecoast writers conference. In this week’s haunting poem, he remembers workmen from a culture that has been lost.
The Last Lamp-Lighters by Kenneth Rosen
I saw the last lamp-lighters! Patrolling The dusk, looking for gas-lamps Whose lights had gone out. Each held a pole Forked for lifting the frail pearl-tinted bowl, And one with a small wheel and flint for castingA spark. Did all lamps need to be lit? Or just Those doused by raindrops or errant drafts? They seemed sad, these doomed men who knew How to give fog its soft perfume, and the facts Of our life their necessary, tender, but fatal glow.
Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2003 by Kenneth Rosen. Reprinted from “The Origins of Tragedy & Other Poems,” CavanKerry Press, 2003, by permission of Kenneth Rosen. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-228-8263.