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THE CYCLE OF THEIR LIVES / Eamon Grennan AU day, now that summer's come, the children Drift by my window on their bicycles. Hour 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 this 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 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 becomes A pool of light and silence; the spangled Green Crosshatch of leaves stays still. Soon They are back in their fragrant 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 28 · The Missouri Review In time, being only motion alone, savouring The sweet empty presence of themselves In sunlight. My own son is among them until The last 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 The 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. Eamon Grennan THE MISSOURI REVIEW · 29 WALKING TO WORK / Eamon Grennan The trees along College Avenue stand Quiet as cows in wet weather, immense Breaths steaming, dark hides Dripping into March. Limegold, A smear of lichen brightens the Ridged and shingled bark. The purple Nib of a first crocus, clean as fresh Paint, pricks from a tuft of faded grass. In Berckhyde's square of Dusseldorf A seamless shawl of light is falling Over housefronts and the plump trees, Over the canal bridge where a procession Of horsemen is passing, trailed by a Flax-haired boy with a dog. A tall man Bears a perch of hooded hawks aloft. Passing forever through this early light To the open fields, they leave behind Unruffled squares, sleeping houses, water Still glistening between tidy banks. Were There another life, I'd be content to Spend a slice of it in such a scene— Waking at this lit hour and walking out, Loitering on the bridge to watch the men From the big house go by: I- smell their Horses' mealy sweat, their pungent hawks, The nipping, moss-edged scent of water. But now I am walking to work Along College Avenue in Poughkeepsie, Under a dripping braid of naked branches. Above my head a saltwhite spindrift Shimmer of gulls: famished eyes cast down, They've followed the river this far From the reach of salt. With them they bring A hint of the back garden in Dublin, my father Tossing leftover scraps in the grass, watching 20 ¦ The Missouri Review Wide white copewings flap and batter. They'd Open their throats to chicken bones, potato Skins, lamb fat, brown crusts of bread, then Cast fierce heads back and wail. Such Anarchy and appetite dazzled his Slow, encumbered blood: he'd taste...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 18-26
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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