Two poems by Eileen Sheehan

My Father, Long Dead

My father, long dead,
has become air

Become scent
of pipe smoke, of turf smoke, of resin

Become light
and shade on the river

Become foxglove,
buttercup, tree bark

Become corncrake
lost from the meadow

Become silence,
places of calm

Become badger at dusk,
deer in the thicket

Become grass
on the road to the castle

Become mist
on the turret

Become dark-haired hero in a story
written by a dark-haired child
(first published in The Irish Times (poetry editor Gerard Smyth)

My father,
a most gentle man,

fed the leavings of the table
to nesting crows
that screamed and whirled
in a nearby stand of trees.

From a branch of sycamore
that overhung
his newly-planted drills,
he suspended
by its gnarled legs
one dead crow;

for weeks
the wind-jigged carcass
swung there
in a crazy parody of flight.

My father,
a most gentle man,

appeasing the dark gods,
their appetite
for sustenance,
for blood.
(from Song of the Midnight Fox , Doghouse Books)
Eileen Sheehan lives in Killarney, Co Kerry. Her collections are Song of the Midnight Fox and Down the Sunlit Hall (Doghouse Books). Anthology publications include The Poetry of Sex (Ed Sophie Hannah/ Penguin/ Viking); The Watchful Heart: A New Generation of Irish Poets (Ed Joan McBreen/Salmon Poetry), and TEXT: A Transition Year English Reader (Ed Niall MacMonagle/ Celtic Press). She has worked as Poet in Residence with Limerick County Council Arts Office and is on the organizing committee for Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary and Arts Festival. Her third collection, The Narrow Place of Souls, is forthcoming.