“One Morning” by Eamon Grennan
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
Looking for distinctive stones, I found the dead otter rotting by the tideline, and carried all day the scent of this savage valediction. That headlong high sound the oystercatcher makes came echoing through the rocky cove where a cormorant was feeding and submarining in the bay and a heron rose off a boulder where he'd been invisible, drifted a little, stood again -- a hieroglyph or just longevity reflecting on itself between the sky clouding over and the lightly ruffled water. This was the morning after your dream of dying, of being held and told it didn't matter. A butterfly went jinking over the wave-silky stones, and where I turned to go up the road again, a couple in a blue camper sat smoking their cigarettes over their breakfast coffee (blue scent of smoke, the thick dark smell of fresh coffee) and talking in quiet voices, first one then the other answering, their radio telling the daily news behind them. It was warm. All seemed at peace. I could feel the sun coming off the water.
From Relations: New and Selected Poems, 1998
Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minn.
Copyright 1998 by Eamon Grennan.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota from Relations: New and Selected Poems. Copyright 1998 by Eamon Grennan. For further permissions information, contact Permissions Department Graywolf Press, 2402 University Ave., Ste. 203, St Paul, MN 55114. /www.graywolfpress.org
About the Poet
Eamon Grennan (1941- ) is the author of over ten poetry collections, including But the Body (Gallery Books, 2012). Grennan was born in Dublin and attended boarding school at a Cistercian monastery.
Learn more about Eamon Grennan at The Poetry Foundation.