Street Light


This tall night-blooming narcissus
of a lamp affixed to wooden pole
studies with pale interest
only the island of its beam –
footpath, road, and mown verge:
it never follows the passer-by.

To fluttering moths and speedy moon
indifferent, as to other lights;
believes all colours have this haze
of dingy greens and charry greys
that Night’s an illusion, and that Noon’s
an incredible myth,

It would not put a traveller wrong –
if he spreads a map it takes a peek,
and behaves as any street light should
keeping a calm head in a storm.
But more than between the shining on
and switching off it does not seek.

'Street Light' first published in the booklet that accompanies New Zealand Poets Read Their Work for Children (Waiata, 1974), Gloria Rawlinson 1974, used by permission of the Rawlinson-Edge Trust. Recording from the Waiata New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 1974.

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