Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Lighthouse, 1989 - A Magpie Tale

Photo by Jean Guichard provided by Tess for a creative prompt for Mag 202

You might think as I did that this is a photoshopped image. Instead it was a matter of being in the right place and time, in a helicopter with wth right photo equipment during a storm in 1989. One place you can read the story:

Phare de la Jument translates as "Lighthouse of the Horse" or if you will, "Lighthouse of the Mare". There are apparently three lighthouses in the area and the Mare's Lighthouse is in the sea on a small island called La Jument beyond the western tip of Britanny. This is the real thing and this photo, which I had not seen before, is obviously famous world wide.

Look at this:

The Lighthouse, 1989

Sometimes the sea grows
beyond all bounds. It will not
warn you. It won't care
that you have stepped out
to take the air or look at
the helicopter
hovering nearby.
When you leap back in, slamming
the door of the light
you are paid to keep
the sea rages and barges
past the seams of things.
There is nothing left
to do but climb to the top
and hope this is not
the day you will kiss
the world and your ass goodbye
and your wife and dog.

‎January ‎12, ‎2014 8:30 AM

I can't help wondering. The keeper has obviously stepped out to get a view of the helicopter. Did he get really pissed at the intrusion that nearly took his life? I think I would have been. I doubt I would have enjoyed the moment. I do like a good storm and have been known to take some chances with them. This sea is no question across the line for me. This wave is very close to what mariners call a rogue wave.


  1. Christopher, thank you so much for including the video ~~ adds so much depth, reality to the photograph.

    Your poem is equally fascinating.

  2. excellent poem- love the last 4 lines!
    I too linked mine to the wiki site.

  3. I love the way you tell this story. The ending is superb. <3

    Take care and keep smiling.

  4. I see that someone could take it that I meant the lighthouse keeper was pissed at the sea. I meant of course that he would probably not have stepped out had the helicopter not been there.

  5. "The sea barges past the seams of things."
    Great stuff...

  6. Pissed because he thought they came to rescue him...not just take his picture...but they did come back to save him...

    1. This site:
      said this:

      "On the night of December 20, 1989 a storm had smashed windows and flooded the lower floor of the lighthouse, washing away furniture and appliances. The keeper took refuge in the lantern room at the top, awaiting rescue. The next day he heard the sound of Jean Guichard's helicopter, who was on a photoshoot. Thinking it was a rescue helicopter, the keeper, Théodore Malgorne, opened the door to see. He realized it was not the rescue helicopter, and noticed the giant wave just in time to turn back inside and shut the door. That huge wave broke against the back side of the lighthouse and engulfed it. All this time, Jean Guichard was in his helicopter taking pictures as fast as possible. He ended up taking a sequence of seven shots of this wave. Théodore Malgorne survived, and was later rescued."

  7. totally beautiful read...thanks also for the video with the
    fabulous Neil Oliver!!

  8. I had read the story on Wikipedia, but enjoyed the film and reading your poem. Kiss the world goodbye would be putting it mildly, indeed! Thank you for sharing this.

    1. I especially enjoyed the Youtube as I researched the topic. I enjoyed meeting the keeper who stood there because he was hoping the rescue bird had come.

  9. Hey hey! This is my favourite take on the prompt so far! What fabulous killer few last lines!


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