"Cardinal Points" litetrary journal: www.stosvet.net

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Eamon Grennan

ANOTHER DEAD MOTH




Still Life with Butterflies, Breakers, Atlantic City


Noon monarchs. Their crooked descents and ascensions
as the light wind lives or dies along nodding fuzz-heads
of goldenrod that brighten the ups and downs of dunes:
erratic shadows crossing the shadow of your hand
as they take the sail-way towards Mexico from this haven
of sun and sand, of dreamy mid-day nectars, the voyage
stretching its chance and accident ahead of them
until millions (even this one brushing your shoulder, riding
the rainbow that ghosts a toss-burst of surf
for a spectral second or two) make it to a tree in the tropics
and start the next cycle. Now sanderlings probe with
bills of polished onyx the sand for hapless morsels,
while your eyes find over miles of ocean the towers
of Atlantic City shining in sea mist, and you see
how surf kneeling at your feet is haloed by a disarray
of radiances melting into the matter of waves
lathering sand and letting you know-as you listen
to this unhallowed music of the world
making itself heard one big beat at a time-that
light itself is no mystery now, walking on water.



Makesense


Vermont, he says, seen from an eminence,
throws itself together. But airwaves clog
with a dust storm of bodies
under the sun of Africa: boys with guns
ripping the red heart out of villages,
children hidden for only a minute
under robes of saffron, raspberry, sky-blue
and then not, the kitchen floor awash in blood.
Elsewhere, one oil-slicked cormorant
trying to draw asthmatic breath. And still
these peregrine eyes set off
among the hundred nameless colours
of this October morning (amberyellow,
I try, rufusginger, winecitron,
fox, fawn, bear, mellow flesh of mango
),
seeking any sort of pattern. What Poussin
found, for instance, in that vibrant light and shade
in which the man sprawls with the snake
that killed him; in which the figure fishing
casts a placid line into still water
where an arch of branches bows
under the shady green weight of summer,
while on the far bank in full sunshine
a herd of oxen has stopped to drink
and be mirrored in all their leather, jet, ivory
by the sheer gleam they lean to . . .
the whole prodigious scene so disposed
it brings mystery and matter into a single
unsayable configuration-as if seen
from a great height, yet hidden and intimate
as your blood is: pulse-parsing
in its own innocence, in its immaculate
indifference, every passing present moment.



Another Dead Moth


On the kitchen tiles another dead moth.

Tiny design of black and brown triangles,
the wings dwarfing the soft tube of the body
where nerves stuttered, stopped,
light still blazing in fixed pin-eyes
brimming with one insatiable desire
then nothing.

Under the rubble, in the hearts of houses,
in the holy places where
heads are bowed, hands raised to heaven,
ploughshares are beaten into rockets,
rose-tips of grey steel scribbled
with girlish messages or steeped
in the sweat of boys in green tee-shirts,
their red headbands fetching light.

Believers in what they do,
they race, weighted as they are,
to embrace the last moment, moth-mouths
biting at that impossible light,
till all's a flame mid-air, then
the grand entranced array
of holiday gear flapping across
a wide-open sky, a world giving up
its gaudiest ghosts, the day
one running wound of smoke, a wail of sirens.



Reading Beckett in October


Great blaze the trees put on: maple, dogwood, birch, oak, beech, tamarack, honey locust, as well as the white pines that change their needles, letting go of gold and being again-as if no end to it, ever-green. Surely the melodic simmer of air, bees among the white impatiens, cedar waxwings sweet-prattling between high branches or embeaking berries sapphire and scarlet; surely the High Road flush with its ebony-sheen gleam-harvest of blackberries; surely this raving, ravenous rush into the blood-letting to come, the trees seeming to cry out, stretch arms and shout Look at us! At what we've become, what's become of us, before all is bare!-in all of it surely we get a glimmer of the whole story, no matter how the head-words stagger to say all is over. Surely, that is, these mortal hues let us for an instant of astonishing light off the hook-the way his blessed, bittersweet wordplay (Gammer Ghost riffing with clown-in-chief, Gaffer Flatpants) again lets us, laughing over the howly void, off.