Without as much as a by your leave
Replacement lights were placed in our streets
Taller, brighter, made from steel
So much safer they should make us feel
Artificial in every way
Birds can’t tell if its night or day
No one asked if we need these new lamps
They’ve just appeared like fresh Spring plants
They are very effective in shedding light
Not at street level, but from four storey height
Above than bungalows, houses and low-rise flats
Their intense lighting means at night I wear hats
Now we’re are safer out walking and when driving our cars
But they’re closing us in as they block out the stars.
n.b. One of life’s great joys is to be able to look up to see Orion, or Ursa Major (the Great Bear, or Plough) against the night sky. Being able to identify constellations; to be able to see the hue of the red planet; to follow the path of Venus as she rises or sets, are all beautiful reminders of life’s brief flame here on the blue planet.
The brilliance and variety of starlight during the phase of the new moon is an awe inspiring vision. It gives a reassuring perspective on the brevity of our lives and challenges us to consider what is truely important.
I believe that this natural night-time panorama inspires humble relection that produces far more powerful and healthier emotions in the soul than is possible to generate when walking under 12 metres high street lights, designed to make one feel safe and reduce fear of crime.
I could go on from here to compare street crime, with domestic violence; link improved street lighting to the expanding use of CCTV to monitor public spaces, particularly for car registration plate recognition to generate car park revenue; to muse on what is crime, but I will spare you that.
Look to the stars, listen to the night. Can you see a meteor? Can you hear a shooting star hissing as it sparks out in the upper atmosphere? Can you see the spectrum of colours that glitter at night?