The Coal Oil Lamp

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Sep 10, 2016 12:00 AM


I often think of how things were 
Way back in the day,
When folks enjoyed a slower pace 
And quite a different way.


The family unit was so strong,  
They did more things together;
They toiled much harder than today, 
Life’s storms and woes to weather.


No modern toys like TV sets,
Appliances and such;
The basic things we know today 
Were simply out of clutch.


To touch on all the ways and walks 
They did would take forever,
But many of those memories 
Will not fade out, no never.


The coal oil lamp sat on the table 
When suppertime came due;
If not you’d never find your plate, 
And likely spill your stew.


It was a simple gadget, 
But it kind of set us free;
It chased away the darkness, 
So we could drink our tea.


The lamp seemed like a magnet 
That drew us all as one;
We played games around it 
And told stories, just for fun.


The kettle danced on the range nearby 
To everyone’s delight,
And the old oil lamp was always there 
To help us through the night. 


Mom shined the globe and trimmed the wick, 
Dad filled the crimson bowl,
To keep the light clean, broad and bright, 
And well under control. 


The Good Book says, “let your light shine,” 
Don’t hide it from one’s view;
Well, in our house, the lamp shone bright, 
And that I know was true. 


Books were read by lamplight 
And studies tackled there -
And Daddy often read God’s word, 
Or led us all in prayer. 


The gentle glow of one small flame, 
Encased, but yet so bright,
It kept us entertained, it seemed, 
And took the fear from night. 


Mothers had their babies home 
Back in the days gone by;
The old oil lamp was always there 
To hear the babe’s first cry. 


And when a soul was called away, 
The wake was day and night;
The old oil lamp kept vigil, too, 
And helped make things all right. 


But by and by the light switch came 
And flicked those times aside,
But older folks can still reflect 
On those past days with pride. 


That little flame that lit our hearts 
And served us all so well
Will always keep on glowing
In the stories that we tell. 


- Submitted by Art MacPherson, Bonaventure, QC