short story
fairy tales
at the zoo
christmas tale
my fairy tale
moon and sun
street lamp
fable of crow
fantasy art






Once upon a time there was a street lamp who was lonely and looked out onto the world. The streets he hovered over were decayed and broken. Every so often he could hear a foghorn blow, and although he couldn't see them, a few blocks away, ferries, tugboats and carriers all sloshed through the river, manifesting their ant-like existence. The marsh reeds along the shore swayed in the wind at dusk - its surrounding water metallically luminescent with oil and otherwise a fluorescent green.

The street lamp had been there before most of the buildings had been raised. In his golden days, he had been a patriarch, the wise one, the one everyone turned to for answers. Partially because of the omniscience his height granted him, but also because he was the first the winged messengers from afar would confide in. Besides, the buildings were much too busy, cradling packs of people into their wombs. The sidewalks and moss that grew between them were often at war, the cars came and went, and the litter had too short of a life span, and always blew away in the wind.

Birds used to roost on the street lamp, but this was no longer true, because the street lamp wasn't as sturdy in his old age. He hobbled even as he stood, against the wind, against time. Sometimes, he talked with the trees. In his bolder years, he had laughed at them when they were shaven and shorn because they grew their hairs too long, too long for the telephone wires.

Even though he had laughed, secretly the street lamp loved everyone.

The birds stopped telling him news from afar, because the street lamp could no longer hear them.

One day, his bulb burnt out. He could no longer see. A few apples remarked on it as they passed by in baskets people carried. Weeks later, some workers came. They blasted the concrete around him, and unscrewed the screws at his base. Now he was more rickety than ever. Someone mentioned that his wires had burnt out. Slowly, they tilted him and loaded him onto a truck. The street lamp didn't even get to glimpse his beloved neighborhood before the truck sped off, for the scrapyard.

© 1990 - 2003 Katharina Woodworth

fantasy art