cover image What Light There Pa

What Light There Pa

Eamon Grennan, Grennan. North Point Press, $10.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-86547-371-3

The Irish poet now residing in the U.S. makes his American debut with verse that celebrates the quotidian--a child's first day at school, a son and mother curling up together, a bird crashing into a window. Grennan's persona goes for a walk and comes home to his children, ``nuzzling them awake / with my rimey beard and the names of birds / I'd seen.'' Birds and other animals are ever-present, treated with a compassion the poet extends to all living creatures. Flies swarming around the ``raspberry''-red belly of a dead rabbit are likened to the animal's lovers. Grennan makes loss as tender as love; without chronicling the nature or process of his separation, the persona finds himself missing his children. ``Daughter Lying Awake,'' told in the voice of a youth learning of her grandfather's death, is a small masterpiece. The sight of a neighbor walking a dog reminds the narrator of his father ``hastening . . . home to the wife / who, when he leaves her behind, will run aground with grief / at being no one in the world.'' (June)