Standing in the wilderness,
I am a tale
Of a struggle,
To hold on to existence.
This was meant to be a check post
On the border,
manned by a few sentries.
I was their workplace at day
And at night, their nesting shade.
Life then was peaceful, full of joy.
My dear friend, nearby flowed the river
In its cool waters, my reflection
Danced and wavered.
Not much activity happened here.
The nights used to come
Dressed to please and charm.
The sentries who stood guard
On the river embankment
Talked in hushed whispers
To drive away their sleep and boredom
And I revelled in many of their secrets.
Then the war broke
Men and machines fought
Against each other,
For pride and to possess,
To succeed in beating back death.
Nowhere was any human dignity left.
The day the war reached here,
It was a night just like any other.
The enemy came
from the opposite bank of the river,
Against a large platoon of men,
The guards, my inmates, were ill-prepared
And certainly, no match.
They tried to fight back bravely
But fell defending my territory;
Their blood was soon left splattered
On my walls and the river bank.
It was all over in few hours.
The enemy moved on and I
Was left standing for many days;
With splattered blood
And stench of rotting flesh
Filling the night air.
I still stand today, forgotten, desolate.
The boundaries have been re-drafted
and I am long forgotten.
Even the river has changed course, deserted me.
I stand alone
Carrying the tales of the past
Etched in my crumbling bricks and mortar.
A beacon in storm.
Hope for souls in fright."
Thus was inscribed
on the foundation stone,
Of an old lighthouse;
no longer burdened with
the responsibility of leading ships home.
It lay abandoned, uncared;
No longer a hub of activity.
No longer remembered.
Except perhaps on a specific day.
A day when, many years ago
Tall columns of clouds
Had suddenly swamped the skies
The sea had turned ominous
The waves, murderous.
In the darkness of the night,
The stormy sea had risen high
Aiming to consume the trawler
To its deep confines.
The trawler and its two occupants
Had braced for the worst.
The dark night
Had them in a grip, tight.
The frenzied winds had
Hit them with all their might.
Home seemed nowhere in near sight.
In absence of guiding stars
Reaching the shores, they realised
Would be a tall order.
When all had seemed lost
And fate seemed intent to do its worst.
Through the darkness
the duo perceived a glimmer of light.
The lighthouse that day had stood tall.
Amidst the darkness and squall
To port, it had the trawler brought.
In remembrance of that day
They come each year;
A sailor's cap on their head.
Bent with age now,
And with wrinkles
that hide the smell of sea in its folds.
Touching the walls
They mutter heartfelt gratitude
To the old lighthouse
For having saved them
on that fateful day.
In front of the foundation stone
They bend low
To place a bouquet of flowers in obeisance.
Then back to their lives, they go.
The lighthouse remains,
Still looking at the horizon,
And with pride