What the cricket is saying with its high-pitched fire-alarm cheep its thin silk-line dividing night from morning is hard to place till you look beyond the bedroom window and see the trees (locust oak dogwood maple ash—those patient beings our dear upstanding companions in every weather) are wearing (this cloudy morning with thunder thumping at intervals among gun-metal cloud-masses) an air of resignation as if on the way to mourning the matter of that moment when (the cricket knows) they’ll strip stand stark and shake their skeletal fists at heaven.
Winter Geese Landing
Under cloudy dusklight the grey air’s packed with a flapping congregation of geese yapping yodelling and drifting down in a feathering vortex while higher up a winter-skyed tribe aim south away from us and our congealing snow and cold and make with sounds of trumpet and trombone and tenor sax a brassy break-up belling clouded air while these sad ones left behind can only drift about disconsolate and at odds with each other—peering into the stilled mirror of the small half-frozen pond (their night lodging) and floating like lost souls out of some forgotten mythology on its pitiless pale skin of chill.
Let’s say it’s storm’s travail and hard labour shaking trees and rousing the roof-timbers of this small house till stillness descends again and the garden’s a glistering array of yellowy greens or let’s say it’s the way those great unmitigated weights the clouds bombard-laden with greyness of un- spent rain and around them eager and inconsolable the usual fretted hems of noonlight gathered to disturb the undecreed blue sky-dome and let’s say such far from mute phenomena declare that all air’s turbulence and all this upheaval in the atmosphere has something in its nature resembling how a psyche might be—its disposition clouded by the slightest unexpected remembering of night-cries and eyes opening into eyes that focus through something like stormlight on your own suddenly dream-startled open eyes.
Return to Renvyle in November
Gleam of gorse-yellows blazing away from Oughterard to his own back door then all the browns of November from black of cut turf to fox-rust dead bracken then tweedy swathes of colour the hills wear like shawls and nothing is not a welcome welcoming the eye back to the feel of a place a space held in common with people who stop to greet or gossip or go on and how the houses seem one with the sloping flank of Letter Hill that’s a dark shape looming into the bright acres of the lake with clouds etching their clean image into lakewater and the salt water of the bay at ease with islands and it’s November yet only yesterday one big-winged monarch was still hovering above the nasturtiums and today though rain’s a gauze net in which lake and mountain have the shakes yet bees are at work ascending out of and descending into a hive colonised over the summer and still taking pollen from clover and whins and the last flowers of fuchsia while small birds bustle between what’s left of the leaves of ash and mountain ash and keep the place a space of song so he looks and listens to the busy world while winter’s a word only in local talk just a rumour in the daily coming and going gossip though all agree it’s coming.
The author of more than ten collections of poetry, Eamon Grennan has also written a book of essays, Facing the Music: Irish Poetry in the 20th Century (1999). He won the PEN Award for poetry in translation for Selected Poems of Giacomo Leopardi (1997), and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets for Still Life with Waterfall (2002). His most recent volume in the U.S. is Out of Sight: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf). He publishes his work both in Ireland and the U.S. His latest volume of poetry (just out in Ireland, and forthcoming in the U.S.) is There Now. Grennan has also won several Pushcart Prizes. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also published for Oxford a translation (with Rachel Kitzinger) of Oedipus at Colonus. For the past few years he has been writing and directing “plays for voices” for a small theater company he co-founded in the West of Ireland: Curlew Theatre Company. He divides his time between Poughkeepsie and Connemara.