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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 collections of poetry and his book Still Life with Waterfall was awarded the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

by this poet

poem
and larks rising out of dead grass 
	and lambs antiphonal between rocky outcrops
and the discreet one-note charm 
	of the willow warbler wishing itself 
into invisibility between sally trees 
	where desperate with its own 
single-mind intent the yellow-eyed 
	red-tail kite (still an edgy fledgling) 
prepares to
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