William Bedford

The Lamplighter

i.m. Florence Winifred Bedford
20.10.1915 – 09.09.2008

He brought that warm glow the children liked,
soft light for jump-the-chalk and pitch-and-toss,
the giggling swirl of humbug heaven
then kiss-the-girl-and-run-away. In Dunlop Place,

Sam Carter was your champion lighter,
a beaming glow-worm from dawn to dusk,
lighting the dark as you ran home. ‘Light’s ghost,’
you called him. You said the best lamplighters

could light the lamps from moving bikes,
lifting the pennies from blind men’s eyes
without stopping to offer a blessing.
Sam liked that. Fetched light like good news,

as welcome a sight as the pot brewing,
his lighting pole and torch on his shoulder,
a fixed grin in the swirling smog of gloom.






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