Oystercatchers in Flight

by Eamon Grennan

Sea’s stony greenblue shatters to white
in a running swell under noonsky of cloudlight
where on a foamed-over cropping of rock
a band of oystercatchers faces all one way
into a nor’wester so shafts of windlight
ignite each orange beak in this abiding
tribe of black till you clap and their risen black
turns white as they veronica on wind and
then away with them (shrill-pitched as frighted
plovers only harsher more excited)
and riding the stiff wind like eager lovers straining
into its every last whim: its pulsing steady
heart-push in every flesh-startling open-eyed
long-extended deepening sea-breath.

About This Poem

This poem is a fairly straightforward visual report on its title, the birds being a common sight on the coastline I live beside in Connemara, Ireland. I sought a contrast between their ‘abiding’ and the speed and dash of their taking off, their going. The lovers’ metaphor intends, I guess, a broadening or deepening of the natural facts. The absence of punctuation is a strategy to suggest the long-breath continuity and interconnectedness of things. The piece is from a coming collection.”
Eamon Grennan

GrennanEamon Grennan is the author of Out of Sight (Graywolf Press, 2010) and But the Body (Gallery, Ireland, 2012). He taught for many years at Vassar College and divides his time between Poughkeepsie, New York, and Connemara, Ireland.

Poetry by Grennan
Out of Sight: New & Selected Poems

(Graywolf Press, 2010)

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