poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

occasions

About this Poem 

“This poem is a fairly straightforward visual report on its title, the birds being a common sight on the coastline I live beside in Connemara. I sought a contrast between their ‘abiding’ and the speed and dash of their taking off, their going. The lovers’ metaphor intends, I guess, a broadening or deepening of the natural facts. The absence of punctuation is a strategy to suggest the long-breath continuity and interconnectedness of things. The piece is from a coming collection.”
Eamon Grennan

Oystercatchers in Flight

Sea’s stony greenblue shatters to white
          in a running swell under noonsky of cloudlight
where on a foamed-over cropping of rock
          a band of oystercatchers faces all one way
into a nor’wester so shafts of windlight
          ignite each orange beak in this abiding
tribe of black till you clap and their risen black
          turns white as they veronica on wind and
then away with them (shrill-pitched as frighted
          plovers only harsher more excited)
and riding the stiff wind like eager lovers straining
          into its every last whim: its pulsing steady
heart-push in every flesh-startling open-eyed
          long-extended deepening sea-breath.

Copyright © 2015 by Eamon Grennan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 18, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Eamon Grennan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 18, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Eamon Grennan

Eamon Grennan

A Dublin native, Eamon Grennan is the author of several poetry collections, including Still Life with Waterfall, which was awarded the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

by this poet

poem
Scattered through the ragtaggle underbrush starting to show green shoots 
lie the dark remains of rail sleepers napping now beside the rusted-out wreck 

of a Chevy that was once sky-blue and now is nothing but shattered panels and
anonymous bits of engine in the ditch by a path that was once a railway line
poem

Thirteen

Her Junior High School graduation:
she’s singing alone
in front of the lot of us—

her voice soprano,
surprising, almost
a woman’s. The Our Father

in French, the new language
making her strange, out there,
full-fledged and

ready for

poem
Back they sputter like the fires of love, the bees to their broken home
Which they’re putting together again for dear life, knowing nothing
Of the heart beating under their floorboards, besieged here, seeking
A life of its own.  All day their brisk shadows zigzag and flicker

Along a whitewashed gable,