Linda Holland

The Keeper

For forty years she tended the beacon,
kept the logbook, oiled the machinery,
repainted sea–scoured surfaces.

“The Lighthouse Lady”, Julia Williams was
known to every Captain in our channel.

“…her hands are shriveled, worn…the face 
seamed with lines of care…but her eyes tell
of courage, fidelity…” reported the LA Times.

She raised five children, single–handed.
Her drunk husband bunked at a nearby ranch.

The dailiness, nightliness.  A keeping.

The cure for darkness isn’t light:
it’s the ritual of climbing the stairs,
polishing the lens, trimming the wick.

After the Edson Smith Photo Collection Santa Barbara Lighthouse

Linda L. Holland is a writer/musician. Her writing has been published in the Cortland Review, Clean Run, An Even Dozen, While You Wait, and elsewhere. Her music has won awards from ASCAP and has premiered at Carnegie and Wigmore Halls. Linda taught at Santa Barbara City College for 22 years. In June 2021 she and her partner relocated to Northern California near the redwood national forest.