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A Poem to Ponder


On Thursday, Feb. 25, Poets Out Loud’s Spotlight on Irish Poetry will include readings by Fordham graduate student Katy Kahn, poet and critic Stephen Burt, and the distinguished Irish poet Gamon Grennan.

Grennan’s latest book, Out of Sight: New & Selected Poems (2010), includes the poem below, one that might resonate with the parents of Fordham students. It was first published in The (Dublin) Irish Times, which runs a poem among its literary pages every Saturday.

Parents and Departing Train

by Eamon Grennan

For all the wavering truth of trees reflected in rainwater, or the undulant disappearing bulk of the white-tail deer into the deer-colored dusk of the apple orchard, its raised tail a pennant of life on the run, its pure white glimmer-candle gone as soon as seen; for all that I believe

of transience—each moment murdered by the next one, each breath
dying into its twin—it still seems impossible to find a right language for how our daughter shoulders her heavy bags and boards the train and is taken from us, just a shadow of a shadow kissing its fingers

at where our shadows stand outside, me settling an arm around your shoulders, your pale face and hair nearly ghostly in the air that’s otherwise all gold, saffron, burgundy, rust—as our girl, speedy as any express—is taken into the distance her own life is now, a place

beyond lullaby or open-eyed angel, a nameless space we keep peering into for that sheer glimmer, girl-shaped, flickering into dusk.


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