Maybe it is the bulb itself that needs to be replaced.
Or, maybe it needs a new starter.
Whatever the cause,
It is flickering again,
That kitchen cylinder of Noble Gas.
And, my wife — she much prefers
To have no light at all.
The on-again, off-again
Bothers her that much.
In truth, visitors are the same,
Commenting with a wince:
“Did you notice there’s something wrong with your light?”
Perhaps I kind of like some variability in this indoor world, our new universe —
This universe of manufactured items,
Rolled off the assembly line
Somewhere — I don’t know where,
Pittsburg, Brussels, or Bombay —
Who can tell?
Is something so wrong with a light
That glows with a twilight dimness
Humming, droning, for lazy minutes,
Then flashes white hot brilliance — and
Then finds contentment yet again with a dull orange glow?
Yes, I suppose it shall have to be replaced.
Ending its life in a landfill somewhere far from home
Or maybe in my own back yard.
But meanwhile, I wonder why no-one but me
Ever seems to wonder why it brightens now?
What causes it to flicker so?
Cosmic rays? Voltage fluctuations?
And, in either case, isn’t this sparkly tiny tube
Quite a rather remarkable little instrument indeed?
The Big Bang that began it all
Summarizing the million little habits of my unseen fellow citizens
As they turn on and off their electric shavers, hair dryers, and stovetops?
It shall have to be replaced, of course,
(Someday, when we are out and about again) —
(And shelves are brimming full again) —
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.