An ode to the Hunting Island Lighthouse

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comAugust 13, 2012 

Thanks to Deonne Parker of Moss Creek for sharing her poem on the lighthouse at Hunting Island State Park. She sent the poem in commemoration of National Lighthouse Day, which was Aug. 7. "I love that lighthouse," she said. "I spent some time as a child in Beaufort and that's how I first got to know it."

"Hunting Island Lighthouse"

By Deonne Parker

This former beacon stands in nature's wild growth,

A guard at her post, as if keeping an oath

To warn a long-dead, phantom skipper

To steer a course to save his clipper.

She looks to the sea, no longer on duty,

Keeping her dignity, an aging beauty.

She watched for years as the sea stole the sand

And was relocated when the sea claimed the land.

The lighthouse is there but no longer works,

Though, perhaps, the ghost of a sea captain lurks,

Seeking revenge for his ship that was lost

On the shore where it was violently tossed.

We may enjoy climbing the lighthouse stairs

But only imagine dashing seafarers.

For centuries they plied the seas on this coast.

To pirates and explorers this shore was host.

Before there were cars, highways or trains,

And before we could predict hurricanes,

Ordinary travelers went by ship.

Everyone knew it was a risky trip

On a placid sea that hid treachery,

When sunny days turned suddenly eerie.

Indifferent to passengers' innocence,

Storms flung them about without any defense.

The lighthouse purpose has long since passed.

With modern technology, it couldn't last.

A ship's course is now steered by satellite.

With weather reports, she evades storm's might.

The lighthouse today looks on people at play;

Her serious pursuit has gone by the way.

You may face danger if you swim too far;

Unseen rip tides can sweep you over the bar.

She's an island queen, who still draws a crowd.

Despite her many years, she still looks proud.

She adds grace to the South Carolina shore,

A part of Lowcountry past and rich lore.

We can conjure up a dark mystery

As we contemplate her lonely history.

There's no guiding light at each day's close;

She just stands watch where the tide ebbs and flows.

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