poem – Glitter

by Mary Jacob, first draft composed 4 January 2013

illumination 086

Streetlamps and fairy lights sparkle the crumbling facades

of this Edwardian town.

Early evening, no movement but a lone woman

crossing to the middle of the road.

She straddles the median,

braces her feet against the cobble,

sets her hip, locks elbows,

and raises a camera as steady as it can be

for a slow shutter speed.

She presses the button, squints, fiddles,

presses again. Everything presses –

feet on the ground, elbows into ribs, finger

on the button.

She shifts her weight, changes

the white balance. The lens

unfolds out, then collapses back into itself

again. She steps

forward and back.

No sound on the street

but the soft tick and flutter of the shot.

She holds the camera

away from her face. The tiny image

shows sparky spikes of light

beating out from the streetlamp,

bashing the darkness and leaving

tattered shopfronts awash

in gold lacquer,

smoothing and filling in the cracks.

She takes her time

progressing slowly round the town tree.

Finally, a car passes, and then another.

A flock of Friday night revellers

totter onto the street in matching plumage –

impossibly high heels, miniskirts, and somewhere

each one has

a touch of glitter, echoing

the street decorations.

There’s always a bit of glitter

to push back the black.

It works quite well, sometimes,

seen through the right lens.


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