A lamp post in Orde Hall Street
Recently I found myself in Orde Hall St which is at right angles to Dombey St (ahead in the picture), where Matthew Sweeney used to live. I recall Matthew explicitly introducing "Surplus Light" as about a lamp post in Orde Hall St. By the look of it this is a newer lamp than 1992 when the book Cacti came out from Secker & Warburg, and yet there it is, shining in the July afternoon.
Could be the making of your marriage,
or of your divorce. Try it at dusk,
when it comes into its own. Sit there
at my window with the curtains open,
as daylight shrinks behind silhouettes
of buildings like my own. See how
its headstart leaves the others standing
(which, of course, they are), even though
one hour later they’re a staggered line
of lit streetlights on a night street.
Hard for you, I expect, to imagine
the effect on the nerves of witnessing
such relentless light, of seeing it
take on the sun and wear it down.
That’s apart from its unlikely beauty –
my iron star-tree i could call it
but I won’t. And to think that I rang
the Council to complain! What are rates
compared to this gift of surplus light,
this permanent reminder of wastage?