This piece was written for Margo Roby’s Tuesday poem tryouts. The theme, Lights Out, is electricity outage, power cuts to us Europeans. Yes, I know, it isn’t a poem. I misread that bit. However, this is what the prompt inspired, poetry or not.
Nothing seemed to trouble the calm flow of existence in those far off days of childhood. There was snow in the winter, sunshine in the summer, plants grew and bees hummed. School was a steady, necessary evil, and the future stretched no further than the weekend. Time flowed slowly, at walking pace, or at its fastest, the speed of an old red bus. There were grandparents, scones on Sundays, Mass and family visits.
Then something called the Three Day Week struck and Dad was at home at funny times of day, the menus changed and there was rarely any meat in them. But the most momentous change was ‘the power cut’. We had night then, real night, black and velvety. And stars. I loved those winter nights of black out, with the open fire and candles indoors. Outdoors, the world was full of the brilliance of the big stars, and the fainter flickering lights of the Milky Way. There were gas balls or ball lightning or UFOs that floated up the dark lane before disappearing into the glittering blackness, and a family of foxes grew brave enough to come and play on the starlit lawn.
The night became a beautiful, mysterious place, and I learned that Orion cartwheeled across the sky each night, a guardian angel, watching over the house on the hill. I sit here, in another house, far away from that childhood hill, while Orion still watches and waits. And I still follow the ballet of the stars, each night bringing me closer to piercing the mystery of what lies at the end of the dance.