Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Life So Short...

and larks rising out of dead grass 
	and lambs antiphonal between rocky outcrops
and the discreet one-note charm 
	of the willow warbler wishing itself 
into invisibility between sally trees 
	where desperate with its own 
single-mind intent the yellow-eyed 
	red-tail kite (still an edgy fledgling) 
prepares to put into lethal play 
	its own unforgiving art by twitching 
one nervous feather after another 
	in the precious seconds before lift-off


Copyright © 2014 by Eamon Grennan. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 5, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

“Most of the details in this little poem were simply notations from a summer walk I took out in Connemara in the West of Ireland where I live when I can. The birds are local, all except the red-tail kite, which was re-introduced into Ireland in 2007, when I read about it. I wanted it for the ‘lethal play’ to contrast with the other ‘pastoral’ details.”

—Eamon Grennan


Eamon Grennan

A Dublin native, Eamon Grennan is the author of several poetry collections, including Still Life with Waterfall, which was awarded the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

Date Published: 2014-02-05

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