The Dark Skies Society

by Helen Oswald

Less light was what they wanted.

Less light and a chance to look up

to see tonight’s old stars shining

and dying. Dark skies and fewer

street lamps leaking Lucozade

into a space once reserved

for heaven, where they might glimpse

Venus opening her door a crack,

or, leaning out of an upstairs window,

overhear God making plans in verse,

honing the moon into half-rhyme.


They believed – and said they had proved it –

that light pollution could cause cancer,

near-sightedness, insomnia and for some

drug addiction. They understood the heart

needs a dark place to thump undetected,

to go underground like a badger, burrowing

its own blind streets, to back out unseen

into fields where the beet sweetens.