Papyrus

By Eamon Grennan b. 1941 Eamon Grennan
Acorn-brown, the girl's new nipples
draw the young men's rooster eyes
where a woman is fitting a man to her mouth,   
breathing fire, holding for dear life.

Green almonds in their shells:
she knifes them open one at a time and   
hands him a slick teardrop, cool white   
tasting cool white. Nothing

compares with such austerities, although   
the skull's honeycomb of bone
will break their hearts, who need hearts   
like a bird's wishbone, to bend, unbend

at every feathery beat—wishbone hearts,
or something fleet and light as an ostrich's   
leg-bone, bearing him to where, panicked   
with grief, he can bury his head in sand.

Papyrus light: a scarf with black parrots on it   
lifts in the breeze, and a real rare bird
is about to fly—his head in the clouds, his life   
shrouded in daylight he keeps breaking.

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

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

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Poet Eamon Grennan b. 1941

POET’S REGION Ireland

 Eamon  Grennan

Biography

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, . . .

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POET’S REGION Ireland

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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