Poetry Shelf connections: Marty Smith’s ‘My lights, for Paul’ with poem and audio


My lights, for Paul

April 8, 2020


All summer long I go on

till every gap is gone,

winding and twisting

wires of lights,

higher and higher


I’m not worrying, I’m looking up



making more and more:

red bobbles on a plastic buoy

blue glass balls on a round ball valve

a warm white pyramid, tipped with gold

changing colours

on fluorescent globes


I covered it all in lights

right up to the top spike

of the monkey puzzle,

twenty foot high, dazzling out

in black space beside


a five-by-five foot glowing ball

of cats’ eyes, shining greenly

into the velvet dark

and in behind, the port lights

on the estuary


and still my wish is not bright enough

Paul is struggling to stand


the moon, strangely yellow too,

stops to pose above my lights,

pooling moonlight onto the sea


it’s all set up in front of the seat

where Paul can sit

and smoke and see them glow


the tiny red tips on the sea glass globe

are fading now, tail lights going away


Paul says he’s here to play pool,

not look at my lights


he sits smoking and staring at them

shining out of the softest night


he says,

I’d like to see them go in a line down the lawn

and into infinity


Marty Smith



Paul-DSCF9310 copy

Photo credit: Florence Charvin





Marty reads ‘My lights, for Paul’



Poet Marty Smith is in lockdown in Hawkes Bay. She plays pool every Friday night (not now) with Paul and a small hard core group. When the competition begins again, it will be renamed as the Davis Cup. For Paul Davis, the best pool player of all.

















2 thoughts on “Poetry Shelf connections: Marty Smith’s ‘My lights, for Paul’ with poem and audio

  1. Pingback: Poetry Shelf Theme Season: Twelve poems about knitting | NZ Poetry Shelf

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