Silent and stolid and sullen-looking under the spilling rain these six cows have made a mucky black mash of the field- path again, but what I’m really noting as I trudge in my wellingtons uphill to the top gate is how the rain has beaded on their black, brown, khaki-colored cowhides, as it will (after a shower) bead dew-like on roses and flowers of fuchsia in the garden, jewelling the place when the sun comes out again: and though there’s no sun now to turn the cows’ rainy veil of sequins into the dozen colours of any sunlit summer morning, yet these droplets are still the brightest presences to catch my eye this dark rain-sodden day—brighter even than the glint of the dozen golden flies that have landed to feast on the neat olivegreen cowpat splatted pancake-flat in the middle of the path…which I avoid stepping in on my way uphill then downhill again back to the house, under the unflustered gaze of six solid, steady, earth-anchored, cloven-hoofed creatures, who shift not an inch out of my careful-stepping way, but who have seen all this a thousand times before, and more, and felt it all, and known and know it simply as the way things (all unquestioned) simply, naturally, are.
To Stand and Stare
Because I stand staring off at the lakes’s grey gleam and the summergreen bulk of Leiter Hill and because I hold my hands on my hips the way he would, it is my father who edges into my mind now, caught in his own way of standing in a silence sea-deep and staring off at who knew what—his manner so im-penetrable I could only circle and circle and never arrive at that centre where he must have known him-self as he was or as he thought he was in all the silent self-inhabited hands-on-hips hard-core spell-stopped sense of simply being—being in the middle as he might have felt of his own dark wood, though in truth and in fact he was (though younger than I am this—now distant—minute) nearing without knowing the end of it.
Eamon Grennan’s most recent collections are Out of Sight: New & Selected Poems (Graywolf, 2010) and There Now (Graywolf, and Gallery Press, 2016). He taught for many years at Vassar College, and later in the graduate writing programs of Columbia and NYU. For the past ten years he has been writing short “plays for voices” on Irish literary and historical subjects for Curlew Theatre Company in Connemara. He lives in Poughkeepsie and in the West of Ireland.