On Violence

Eamon Grennan
Here I heard the earthquake
news, saw the pictures: one minute everything so solid, self-confident, contained, bracing the balanced flat light ofT itself
as if this state of things would last
forever; the next, nothing but rubble, broken halos of light around brick and dust, the death
of chimneys, all the tall buildings bending the knee.
This morning I woke in my own unshaken bed quaking with fright, wearing the house around me like a torn overcoat. To start
from here, from the early light
off the river, a swerve of weather,
fresh air. What's that shifting
under our feet? What I remembered suddenly was forever crossing the same street
in icy rain; the way the birds
outside the diningroom window would always, sunny mornings, translate themselves to shadowtalk along the creamwhite wall. Was the light, I wondered, waves
or particles-living in endless long
extensions of itself, or being
one by one by one without connection?
In the North they say a safe house:
it's where the sniper, before sleep,
can draw the curtains back a little
and look out and down on the wet
bare streets, neat gardens; the children, not his own, laid fast asleep
in the frail still beds behind him.
Page 26, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 26