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Detail by Eamon Grennan


Last night, a flurry of selves.

I was revealing my naked face to people I trust to take care of these truths.

Sometimes even I’m surprised at my deep capacity to be vulnerable. It’s terrifying.

The world chafes, for all its beauty.

Eamon Grennan

I was watching a robin fly after a finch — the smaller bird
chirping with excitement, the bigger, its breast blazing, silent
in light-winged earnest chase — when, out of nowhere
over the chimneys and the shivering front gardens,
flashes a sparrowhawk headlong, a light brown burn
scorching the air from which it simply plucks
like a ripe fruit the stopped robin, whose two or three
cheeps of terminal surprise twinkle in the silence
closing over the empty street when the birds have gone
about their own business, and I began to understand
how a poem can happen: you have your eye on a small
elusive detail, pursuing its music, when a terrible truth
strikes and your heart cries out, being carried off.

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This poem appeared in Still Life with Waterfall: Poems by Eamon Grennan, published by Graywolf Press, 2002.. Shared here with profound gratitude.

Read more works by Eamon GrennanFind books by this poet • Or view my library 

Explore poems in pursuit of: truthsawewhat wounds us • Or browse the index


[expand title=”Dear Reader” tag=”h6″]

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Comments (2)

  • darren

    This is such a powerful style of poetry – a simple story, a profound revelation, nothing more. There is so much packed in here.. this scene of “earnest chase”, the hawk’s “simple plucking” of the robin, the eerie silence ensuing. And then, this moment of epiphany, when I realize, I have just witnessed something here of my own vulnerable life. Thanks for sharing.

  • I come to this blog so often. The poems you have here are like a safe haven. You’re such a beautiful person, I wish i had a person like you in my life. Your friends are truly lucky.


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