from Art Notes
by Derek Mahon

copyright © Derek Mahon 2008

1 A LIGHTHOUSE IN MAINE

– Edward Hopper

It might be anywhere, that ivory tower
reached by a country road. Granite and sky,
it faces every which way with an air
of squat omniscience, intensely mild,
a polished Buddha figure warm and dry
beyond vegetation; and the sunny glare
striking its shingled houses is no more
celestial than the hot haze of the world.

Built to shed light but also hoarding light,
it sits there dozing in the afternoon
above the ocean like a ghostly moon
patiently waiting to illuminate.
You make a left beyond the town, a right,
you turn a corner and there, ivory-white,
it shines in modest glory above a bay.
Out you get and walk the rest of the way.