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Song

At her Junior High School graduation,
she sings alone
in front of the lot of us--

her voice soprano, surprising,
almost a woman's. It is
the Our Father in French,

the new language
making her strange, out there,
fully fledged and

ready for anything. Sitting
together -- her separated
mother and father -- we can

hear the racket of traffic
shaking the main streets
of Jersey City as she sings

Deliver us from evil,
and I wonder can she see me
in the dark here, years

from belief, on the edge
of tears. It doesn't matter. She
doesn't miss a beat, keeps

in time, in tune, while into
our common silence I whisper,
Sing, love, sing your heart out!

—Eamon Grennan

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 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. http://www.graywolfpress.org

Poetry 180

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.