"there's no through trail" —Han-Shan, translated by Gary Snyder

Two Poems by Eamonn Wall

Issue: Fall 2016

 

MORNING LA CROSSE

Riverside & La Crosse at breakfast hour:
yellow tents, runners on the promenade,
like guiding bones light-craft shifting
indigently down the Mississippi. Though
distant, my father sings out from treetop:
eagles await, owls are falling into shadow.
All breath is sacred, on our buckled knees
our buildings stand proud breathing out
aspirations, bent out of shade toward sunlight,
lent down to the river. Sweet world, do you
love me still? Big Muddy where pilgrims
and prophets ought gather to repent wrench
of spaceland bearing breath of indigenous
people who claiming nothing possessed all.
In La Crosse on a bench by the Mississippi
my father descended from his tree offers me
a wild woodbine. I catch in the red stone
on a far hill a glow of liquid, fiery, breathing
life. In Ireland long ago with ash and oak
we wrote our poems out on the waking earth.


MANHATTAN WOOD

Under Manhattan
oaks &

hurled
deciduous rows,

we walk across
Inwood Hill Park.

Sunlight
shaft falls

old leaves list
on the forest floor

robin on a long ledge
of an upraised limb.

Hello my father
Michael.

Shopakkopoch
language of place
lore of place
salvation
Nine Stones
dinnseanchas
Bluebell Wood
we walked
one April day

you say, the trees—
you emphasize—are

an alphabet laced
across the land.
 
 


Eamonn Wall

Eamonn Wall‘s recent publications include Junction City: New and Selected Poems 1990-2015 (Salmon Poetry, 2015) and a guest-edited issue of POETICA, with Saeko Yoshikawa, on Coleridge, Culture, Contemplation (Tokyo, 2016). Essays and poems are forthcoming in Cyphers, New Hibernia Review, and other publications. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and is a professor of International Studies and English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.