Rintrah Roars

By James Galvin b. 1951 James Galvin

for John Grant

My father-in-law writes from Umbria (where peasants eat songbirds
for lunch and pray beneath frescoes by Giotto): Saturday, 30 Jan. (last
day of the season wherein big men can kill little birds).

Lyndon Johnson, while being escorted by a young Marine who said,
“That one over there is your helicopter, Sir,” replied, placing his arm
around the boy, “Son, they’re all my helicopters.”   

Sam said, “I might be white bread, but there is one pissed-off nigger in   
my heart.”

McPherson says he doesn’t see anything in the world worth coming
back for. He wants to get off the wheel, says, “I don’t want to come
back as anything — not even a bumblebee.”   

So I say, “Oh, Jim, you’d make a good bumblebee,” but I was thinking:
That should be enough for anybody’s God.

It would be trite to describe the clocksmith’s house — the way it
sounded like bees in there. “You can never have enough clocks in your
house.” This from a man who had thousands in his. I asked, “You
probably don’t even hear them anymore.” He said, “I hear them when
they stop.”

Lyle said, “It’s all right to be a fool; it’s just not all right to be a old

Steve, the banjo wasn’t all they smashed. It was every window. It was
every thing I had. You don’t want to feel the wind blow through your
house that way.

Another friend said, “I am chained to the earth to pay for the freedom
of my eyes.”

FOOTNOTES: The last line of “Rintrah Roars” is from Porchia.

James Galvin, “Rintrah Roars” from Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975-1997. Copyright © 1997 by James Galvin. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: Resurrection Update (Copper Canyon Press, 1997)

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

Poet James Galvin b. 1951

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, Life Choices

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 James  Galvin


James Galvin is the author of several collections of poetry, including Resurrection Update: Collected Poems, 1975–1997 and X (2003); a novel, Fencing the Sky (1999); and The Meadow (1992), a prose meditation on the landscape of the Wyoming-Colorado border and the people who live there.

Galvin’s work is infused with the genuine realities of the western landscape, while at the same time not shirking difficult questions of faith, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, Life Choices

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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.