Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


Poem for Daniel Joseph Harrington

  • 24 October 2016
  Selected poems    

A small someone

Yet again I am among children who are telling me stories,

And asking me stories, and we talk about sculpting stories,

And their common shapes, stories being like great beer for

Which you need a bottle, I say, or else there's beer all over.

This makes them laugh. Then one moppet says to me, Isn't

A poem the same as a song the same as a story set to music,

Isn't that so? Aren't all kinds of writing the same in the end,

They just come in different packages? Like we say different

Kinds of prayers but in the end all the prayers are the same?

And for a minute I stand there in front of the class, gawping.

I want to laugh and weep at the same time. I think I'm doing

So right now, writing this down. Sometimes someone, often

A small someone, says something so piercing and naked and

Honest and genuine and sideways and brilliant and stunning

That you want to laugh and weep at the same time. Sure you

Stare in her eyes and say kid, you are a wild holy genius,

Don't ever misplace your zest and quest and nerve and verve,

Don't ever tamp it down, don't let anyone else tamp or tramp

It down either, okay? Okay? Because the brains that leap and

Sizzle like yours, that's how the world just maybe doesn't die.



Poem for Daniel Joseph Harrington

This is what I saw at a funeral on Saturday a bright

Brilliant crystal spring day which the late lamented

Would most surely have called a great day for golf:

His grandson, age smallish, dandling the deceased's

Favourite club on the lawn outside the church, as all

The mourners stood around chatting. The boy tried

Every conceivable move with the club — he whirled

It like a baton, and balanced it on a finger, and fired

It like a long silvered pistol, and almost decapitated

The peonies, and batted pebbles into the parking lot,

And finally leaned insouciantly on the club, exactly

As his grandfather had so very many times before. I

Was entranced by the whole performance. It seemed

Very much to be a prayer, somehow. The intent joy,

The concentrated silly, the cheerful un-work of it all;

The late lamented, I am absolutely sure, would have

Been delighted. In fact I would bet the house that he

Would have pulled another club from his bag and set

To having a dandling contest with the boy. He would.



Poem for Father's Day

No one talks about this, but every dad who ever had a son

Had and loved this moment, during