Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Cycle of their Lives

by Eamon Grennan

All day, now that summer's come, the children
Drift by my window on their bicycles. houur
After aimless hour a small bright school of them
Circles the block, nonchalant as exotic fish
That barely ruffle the avocado depths
Of a home aquarium. For the most part
Their pace is regular - pedalling the rise,
Cresting the turn, then floating dreamy-eyed
Back down. Without warning, one will break
The circle, flash off on his own, on her own,
The way they'll leave at last the homes
They'll home to. If they see me staring
Out at them from behind the glass
They wave in passing - one hand jerky in air,
Eyes colliding with mine an instant - then
Steadying a slight wobble they resume their
Instinct's occupation, drawing order from
The tangle of their lives. Morning to night
They're at it, while the gold-spoked sun
Rides the blue rim of the sky, and light sifts
Through the hushed underwater web
Of leaves, altering the air they swim in
- Silvergreen, oriole, buttercup, verdigris-yellow
Come mealtimes, their dreaming spell
Is snapped by the cries of mothers: names
Ring round the neighbourhood like bells, bringing
Each one headlong home. Indoors they fret over
Vegetables, their propped bikes glittering
Against steps and porches, the road
A pool of light and silence. The spangled
Green crosshatch of leaves hangs still. Soon
They are back in their scented kingdom, lords
Of all its lit dimensions, circling perpetually
The square. Given our condition, they fashion
A provisional perfect freedom, beautifully doing
Nothing, unravelling and ravelling themselves
In time, being only motion alone, savoring
The sweet empty presence of themselves
In sunlight. My own son is among them
Until lingering grey traces of air and muffled light
Cling to his white t-shirt and he glows
Almost chromium or wild white rose. When I
Call him in at last, he glimmers away for one
More turn in watery dusklight, then freewheels
Slowly towards the garage dark, dismounts, lays
His bike aside. Grounded, he trudges through
Ankle-deep grass, talking in low tones
To his friends who know their own time is
Almost come and cycle on, flickering
The way I've seen seagulls flicker, who call out
To one another as they wheel round the infinite
High reaches of the evening sky.

From What Light There Is & Other Poems

No comments:

Post a Comment