One of my favorite poems, inspired by the strange but luring style of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

At the corner under the warm streetlight,
Under the dark sky made so bright
By the lamp on that corner,
Between the streets that border that scene —
Trapping me inside
With the sidewalk and yard’s grass —
I wait:
Wait until the last
For you to come and meet me
By that lamp on that street.

The expected time arrives, now gone.
All that time expecting you’d come.

Why was it such a surprise
After all the lies transpired between,
After all the days we’ve seen?
Those days repeat and reappear —
They drone on into weeks and years,
And days bring shades of black and white,
And right and wrong.
(Was I the wrong one all along?)

All the regrets I now feel
For a perfect Love you choose repeal.
We’ll wait a wait for a better day —
A way to finally escape from us,
A way to finally flee from Love.

The street lamp burns and steals the night
By lighting the dark and drowning the stars,
With great might pushing them away
To create an eternal day on that street corner,
Even through days and weeks and nights between.

I see I’ve waited far too long now,
On this night you won’t arrive
To join me under this streetlight.
(I never really thought you would.)
But still I wait and do not stray
From my place by the bright street lamp,
O’er hours and hours and passing days.

© Copyright 2002 by Paul Lytle. All rights reserved.

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