We lived in a lighthouse

Overlooking the sea,

There was papa and mama,

my brother and me.

We had an old dog named Shep

and a tame parakeet,

It was a very fine life

for my  brother and me.

Papa worked hard;

He was the sole lighthouse keeper,

Mama made all our clothes,

she said it was cheaper.

Mama taught us to read,

to add and subtract,

We were too far from school,

and that was a fact.

Papa climbed up the steps

every night of our lives,

to light up the wicks

so that sailors survived;

for the rocks in the ocean

were brutal and deep

and under our lighthouse,

a cliff deadly and steep,

Papa put up a fence

so we wouldn’t fall down,

It was a very fine lighthouse,

the best to be found

Once a month, papa took mama

into town in our truck;

she bought a few groceries,

we were down on our luck,

so there never was candy,

we seldom had meat.

(I once had an orange;

it was a mighty  fine treat )

Papa fished in the ocean

we had biscuits and jelly ,

and Mama made cornbread,

we had a full belly .

And then came a time,

when a man came from town;

He was a stranger,

and not from around;

He gave papa a paper

and here’s what it said,

the lighthouse was going

electric instead;

so papa no longer

would be the lighthouse keeper;

we thought we would move

but staying was cheaper;

so we hid in the lighthouse

whenever we saw

strangers approaching;

it was not hard at all;

papa kept his old truck,

down in the woods

they never bought staples,

if only  they could;

we ran out of cornmeal

and flour and such,

and  lived off the ocean,

there never was much,

then Mama took sick

and one day she died;

it was the onliest time

that I saw Papa cry.

He took us to to3wn

to an orphan asy um,

he drove off with Shep

and I’m not lying,

He opened the cage

and the parakeet flew

off in the sky ,

where no body  knew.

My  brother and me

went to live with a farmer

and learned to do chores;

we were children no longer.


Sandra Lee Smith

first written March 18 , 2010; updated June 22, 2018