Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Poem for Thursday

Liz Elayne has suggested a sharing of poems on Thursdays. Here's one of my favourite poems - one I can read over and over, and just sigh each time I do: It's by Paula Meehan

My Father Perceived as a Vision of St Francis

It was the piebald horse in next door's garden
frightened me out of a dream
with her dawn whinny. I was back
in the boxroom of the house,
my brother's room now,
full of ties and sweaters and secrets.
Bottles chinked on the doorstep,
the first bus pulled up to the stop.
The rest of the house slept

except for my father. I heard
him rake the ash from the grate,
plug in the kettle, hum a snatch of a tune.
Then he unlocked the back door
and stepped out into the garden.

Autumn was nearly done, the first frost
whitened the slates of the estate.
He was older than I had reckoned,
his hair completely silver,
and for the first time I saw the stoop
of his shoulder, saw that
his leg was stiff. What's he at?
So early and still stars in the west?

They came then: birds
of every size, shape, colour; they came
from the hedges and shrubs,
from eaves and garden sheds,
from the industrial estate, outlying fields,
from Dubber Cross they came
and the ditches of the North Road.

The garden was a pandemonium
when my father threw up his hands
and tossed the crumbs to the air. The sun

cleared O'Reilly's chimney
and he was suddenly radiant,
a perfect vision of St Francis,
made whole, made young again,
in a Finglas garden.


At 24/2/06 1:22 am, Blogger eliza said...

beautiful. wow.

i have the prayer of st. francis pinned up on the wall over my bookshelf altar.

At 24/2/06 5:55 am, Blogger liz elayne said...

oh...the little tears tapping on the back of my eyes again.
i love this. just love it. thank you for sharing it and for participating. this image will be what i think about as i drift to sleep tonight.

At 24/2/06 12:44 pm, Blogger Cate said...

I love the poem you selected. I'm so insecure in writing my impressions about poetry, but this reminded me of my grandfather who lived in Ireland. The images are so quietly vivid and quietly powerful, building up to the gasp-worthy conclusion! Thank you for introducing me to Meehan's work and for sharing this wonderful poem!

At 24/2/06 1:00 pm, Blogger scarecrow said...

I like this a lot.

At 24/2/06 7:11 pm, Blogger Joy Eliz said...

reminds me of spring. ahhh....
I see you got your blog in order...good deal!

At 24/2/06 8:36 pm, Blogger Sky said...

oh my!! what a wonderful surprise for me here on this page! thanks so much for sharing this. i loved my st. francis statuary which stood in my garden in Atlanta before my move here to the Pacific NW. he now graces the garden of a friend there. this makes me want to go find a new one for our garden - right now!

At 24/2/06 9:32 pm, Blogger Cate said...

Oh, I just read that you live in Ireland! My mother grew up in Ballymena, near Belfast, and my grandmother and my uncles all still live there!

At 25/2/06 8:39 am, Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Oh, what a beauiful poem! I've never read it, nor do I know the author. I'm going to save this entry on my computer so I can read the poem again. Thank you for posting this.

At 25/2/06 1:22 pm, Blogger GreenishLady said...

I chose to post this poem because (a) I simply love it, and love very many more of Paula Meehan's poems and (b) because I was aware that perhaps she would be new to most of you, and it's not fair to keep such riches just on this side of the Atlantic! Glad so many of you enjoyed it too.

At 25/2/06 5:01 pm, Blogger tess said...

This is a lovely poem!

Thank for sharing this. I look forward to more of your poetry treasures. I still am savoring that one with the image of those who have passed on looking down on us earthlings as through a glass-bottomed boat. That was one of the most magical images I've ever encountered. Thank you for enriching us with the beauty you love!

At 26/2/06 5:18 pm, Blogger Kara said...

Hi, I haven't left you a comment recently. Thanks for the poem. Glad to hear you had a lovely visit with your sister. Just checking in....


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