Summer Evening

By Eamon Grennan b. 1941 Eamon Grennan
A spear of zinc light wounds stone and water,
stripping the scarlet fuchsia bells and yellow buttercups

of any discretion, so they confess their end in this   
luminous declaration that they are no more than

shortlived absolutes in living colour, bright eyes   
open against the dark. A light in which everything

is exact-edged, flat, no bulk or heft to it, yet   
decisively itself in outline: islands, the matte grey sea,

and miles away the fine glowing line of the horizon   
that like desire will be the last to go. The mountain's

immense green and brown triangle reflects on itself   
in lakewater, doubling its shape and colour there,

its stillness something drastic, an aspect of dread—as if   
a lover tried to remember that loved other body

by looking in the mirror. Almost at random, shadows   
fall across the small roads—which can never follow

their own bent, but always take the grain of the hill,   
turning to its every tilt and inclination—and evening

starts to seep into hedges and hung washing: it is   
the brown colour of a bat's wing, and silent

as a bat is. Even your own family now would have to
be streaked with it, their faces by degrees bleeding away

in the gather-dark, whole patches of them blackening   
like zones of a map thrown on smouldering embers.

Eamon Grennan, “Summer Evening” from Relations: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1998 by Eamon Grennan. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota,

Source: Relations: New & Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 1998)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Eamon Grennan b. 1941


Subjects Nature, Summer

 Eamon  Grennan


Born in Dublin, Eamon Grennan attended boarding school at a Cistercian monastery. He met Derek Mahon and Eavan Boland as an undergraduate at University College, Dublin, spent a year in Rome, and then came to the United States to earn his PhD at Harvard. He began writing poetry in earnest in 1977 and published his first collection, Wildly for Days, in 1983. He lives in the United States but returns frequently to western Ireland, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Summer


Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.