Friday, August 7, 2015

Lighthouse Keeping - Kay Ryan

Seas pleat
winds keen
fogs deepen
ships lean no
doubt, and
the lighthouse
keeper keeps
a light for
those left out.
It is intimate
and remote both
for the keeper
and those afloat.

Kay Ryan has a gift for making short leans feel so much.  The way the line breaks contribute to both larger sentences, taken individually, they offer contrast and alternate meanings.  The best example of that here is "ships lean no / doubt" and "doubt, and."  Of course, the ships out at sea lean, no doubt there, but for the sailors, and the lighthouse keeper, there is "doubt, and" so many more feelings.  The lighthouse keeper and the sailor out at sea have an intimate, long-distance, anonymous relationship, which I feel is captured wonderfully in this short jewel of a poem.

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