Guest Poem by David Olsen

David Olsen's fifth full-length collection, The Lost Language of Shadows (2022), is from Dempsey & Windle. After Hopper & Lange and Nocturnes (both 2021) are from Oversteps Books and Dempsey & Windle, respectively. Unfolding Origami (2015) won the Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award, and Past Imperfect (2019) is also from Cinnamon Press. Poetry chapbooks from US publishers include Exit Wounds (2017), Sailing to Atlantis (2013), New World Elegies (2011), and Greatest Hits (2001). This poem is from Acumen 107.


i.m. Cathy Young, R.N. (1953-2022)

Smooth rounded pebbles
chatter in turbulent surf,
aspire to perfect spheres.

Ribbons of uprooted kelp
intertwine. Broken shells
bleach in the sun.

Above the shingle,
a promontory rises
to reveal an obelisk

of whitened stone.
Faithful beyond doubt,
it has guided mariners

through fog and dark –
away from harm,
toward safe harbour.

Preserving the well-being
of others – with patient care –
its selfless mission.

A devoted keeper
tends the light,
keeps the Fresnel bright.