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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.

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.