Candle On The Water


Wendy Van Camp
Lit Up
Published in
3 min readJun 19, 2018


He has no memory of arriving in port
The sea is cruel, using sailors as sport
He serves aboard a merchant ship
Seeing the world in a decade trip

Sailing toward a land he may never have seen
The Captain he serves is being keen
The profits to be had, there are many
Their full hold will provide a pretty penny

As the storm rises, the crew feels superstitious
Under their hull, the rocks might be vicious
Off in the distance, there is a shimmering light
A candle on the water, a guide through storm’s blight

A woman stands on the balcony tower
The storm of the sea gaining in power
Overhead, the lighthouse shines bright
She remains waiting through the night

Although ten years alone have been stark
By day she tends the lighthouse spark
Each night she ends her duty upon the tower
Never an evening does she shirk or cower

Her youth and bloom are almost gone
If her sailor returns, would his love be forgone?
A storm like this had taken her man
Her love remains no matter the span

The sailor rides the crow’s nest
“Land Ho!” He proclaims their ending quest
He looks to the lighthouse to guide their vessel
In the shimmering glow he sees a woman special

Memories explode within. The sailor loses his grip
He clings to the ropes. “Esme?” on his lip
Shame fills his sailor heart for the promises he has broken
Would she forgive him the decade he has forsaken?

Paid off and free, he walks the steps of the lighthouse
In his pocket is a ring and the hope of becoming a spouse
He knocks on the heavy door and waits for it to unlock
In the doorway is his beautiful Esme, her face filled with shock

“Patrick, is it you?”
Her voice is trembling and true
“Aye,” the sailor confesses
He takes in her eyes and tresses

Her hand flashes forward, slapping his cheek
The sailor’s eyes water, his emotions bleak
He recounts his tale of shipwreck on a beach
Of the long years of his memory leach

Remembering his pledge he pulls forth a ring
“If you will still have me,” he asks with no sting
She looks at him square in the face
He is not certain she will accept him apace

Then her eyes crinkle in a becoming fashion
She gives him her hand and a nod of passion
Patrick slips the ring on her finger and takes her in his arms
He will remain here, trading ships for farms

About the Poet
Wendy Van Camp is the Poet Laureate for the City of Anaheim, California. Her work is influenced by cutting edge technology, astronomy, and daydreams. A graduate of the Ad Astra Speculative Fiction Workshop, Wendy has won Honorable Mention at the Writers of the Future Contest, is a twice nominated finalist for the Elgin Award, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Dwarf Stars Award. Her poems have appeared in: “Starlight Scifaiku Review”, “Quantum Visions”, “The Junction”, and “Far Horizons”. She is the poet and illustrator of “The Planets: a scifaiku poetry collection” and editor of the annual “Eccentric Orbits: An Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry” by Dimensionfold Publishing. Find her:



Wendy Van Camp
Lit Up

I love to read books, sketch, and drink coffee. I'm an author and the Anaheim Poet Laureate. #speculativepoetry #sciencefiction #memoir #poetry #scifaiku