Picador poetry editor and award-winning poet, Don Paterson, picks a few poems to celebrate the theme of this year's National Poetry Day: Light.

The Lighthouse

As good a climb as any, now the day’s near done
                        the hill ahent the bothy –
a dry burn, then a basalt knuckle
like a throne,
              should you care to queen it
among shivery bracken
                        a wheen grazing sheep.

Already the Western Isles
lie dusty-pink along the horizon,
             and like a prodigal in a nightclub,
the Scalpay lighthouse
             keeps flashing its signature

three-white-every-twenty-second beam.

'The Lighthouse' is published in Kathleen Jamie's collection The Bonniest Companie.

A Jar of Honey

Phill Jupitus Reads 'A Jar of Honey' by Jacob Polley

'A Jar of Honey' is published in The Brink, by Jacob Polley


A Pint of Light

When I overheard my father say
it was his favourite drink, I closed my eyes
and imagined his body filled with a helpless light.

Years later, I watched him pour out
the disappointing truth, but still couldn’t let
that image go: he’s trailing home from the pub

singing against the dark, and each step
he steps, each breath he breathes, each note he sings
turns somehow into light and light and light.

'A Pint of Light' is published in John Glenday's collection, The Golden Mean.


Lying down on a bench by the bridge,
a moon in late Gemini hidden from view,
I think of you who I loved a moment ago
as handfuls of light thrown up in the sky
find the brief flower of their suspension.

They fall so much shorter
than those on-lookers of the upper air;
our old loves, our oarsmen, radiant
in their silence, too steady to take an insult,
too self-possessed to need us.

Lights from regal crescents, Brunel’s
ingenious shortcut to the woods
and rockets fired from the observatory roof
leave me cold – my eye’s on Jupiter, just visible
through the cloud: first you see me, now you don’t.

'Fireshower' is published in Rachel Boast's collection, Sidereal.