Light House by Paul Francis


The wind is up
the tides are treacherous
and no direction’s safe.
That’s when you need a beacon in the dark
a sign that you don’t have to drown alone.

There’s all sorts here.
Cinemas, galleries, café, meeting space.
And ragbag customers as well,
all kinds of jobs, retired, unemployed;
all ages, colours, genders, faiths
and some who aren’t sure what they are.
Which is the point.
We’re welcome, all of us
and that’s why we keep coming here.
Unlock the mystery that Chubb contrived
and stroll across the cobbles, pass the time.
Escape the tyranny of solitary screens
and share a screening, celebrate a film.

It’s not the smoothest.
People love this place
because it’s not the smoothest. It has heart
and people who are glad to see you here
who know that social distancing
is temporary, not a fact of life.

The storm outside is gathering
and some accept the devil’s estimate
of what we can afford.
To them, this friendly beam
is part nostalgia, part extravagance.
They won’t mind watching, if it slowly dies.
So those who want to keep the light alive
must gather close, cling on to it
as if for dear, dear life. 


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