‘Look at The Light’ a poem by URC performance poet Lucy Berry

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chris barbalis 421796 unsplashThis poem involves two passages in my own life: the approaching death of my father, and the birth of my son. The first involves the last interaction I recall my dad ever making with someone outside the family. The second, the first time we noticed that my son was sharing his experience. They are linked, by light; and they never leave me.

Look at The Light

My Dad’s old legs, (uncertain, now, to stride),
moved him in short, weak steps he could still do,
and crossed him to the bright side of the ward.
He stares the bed there in the teary eye
and yanks the dirty orange curtain back
which hides the sun, setting another time,
so that a peachy, apricotty light
turns the back wall to grapefruit coloured paint.
‘Look at the light! Look at that bloody light!’

And both old men blink down along the rays
to see the sun, caught behind webs of cranes
and other tackle of Southampton docks,
before it sinks into blood-orange sea.
They nodded then. And Dad gets back to bed.

So, I retain ‘Look at that bloody light!’
Last beauty, shared between two sick old blokes,
strangers but friends, bathed in the dying light.


Kicking strong legs in his cot and squawking,
waking us happily before the dawn,
months yet to pass before he’ll be walking
only a few short months since being born,
my son is kissed and carried to the window
to see the sunrise on the sleeping town.

His curly, tufty head is slightly bobbing
as he stares vaguely round, and vaguely down.
But looking up, held by my mum, and wonder,
receives such ruddy light smack in the eye
and shares that dawning moment with her
as he will share more moments by and by.

So, I maintain, look to that ruddy light
which falls, falls, falls and can’t discriminate
between friends, strangers, old blokes or babies.
Early for some. For others just too late.

©Lucy Berry

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