16
Aug
08

Just outside the window

This one that I wrote a number of years ago. I was fascinated by a dysfunctional streetlight outside my apartment. Many nights I sat on my porch, smoking a cigar and having a Scotch or a glass of red wine/ port just watching the light fade in and out of productivity. I related to it- possibly a bit too much.

Just outside the window

Of our small apartment

Glows our dysfunctional streetlight.

It starts with a dull glow

Of the filament,

Just barely visible,

But not casting any light

That could be used.

Then it snaps

Brightly

With a bright blue-white

Light,

That quickly fades

To a duller golden-yellow

To match the light

On the opposite corner.

Once it has reached

The perfect copy,

Seemingly its perfection,

It shuts off

Leaving

Just the slightest

Glow

Of the filament

To remain visible

In the darkness.

To return again and again.

Its cousin across the street

Stays the same color

From the time the sun

Says farewell

And then returns.

In my moments

Of diminished appreciation

I consider reporting

To the city

That the light is a danger

And should be replaced,

But I’m ultimately

Convinced

That I would miss

My periodic light,

Once replaced

By a constant glow.

I don’t know

If I could forgive myself

For replacing

Constant effort

With constant success.

Our light

Is only bright

For a minute or two

Before cutting off

And starting over

Again,

But it never stops

Trying.

All night

Through the darkness,

It has constant success

For only a moment.

I relate to our light

More than the arrogant

Over achiever across the street.

I have to remind my self

That some success

Is better

Than none,

Even if only

For a moment.

Timothy Vance Jackson

July 7, 2001

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1 Response to “Just outside the window”


  1. August 16, 2008 at 11:57 AM

    I like the comparison of the broken streetlight with constant effort – turning a negative into a positive. Too often we measure ourselves against the seemingly constant success of others. Nicely done, Tim. Glad you’re sharing your poetry with us.


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