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Lawrence Ferlighetti’s The Changing Light

By Karen Beishuizen

The changing light at San Francisco is none of your East Coast light,
none of your pearly light of Paris
The light of San Francisco is a sea light, an island light
And the light of fog blanketing the hills drifting in at night
through the Golden Gate to lie on the city at dawn

And then the halcyon late mornings
after the fog burns off and the sun paints white houses
with the sea light of Greece
with sharp clean shadows
making the town look like it had just been painted
But the wind comes up at four o’clock
sweeping the hills
And then the veil of light of early evening
And then another scrim
when the new night fog floats in
And in that vale of light the city drifts anchorless upon the ocean