Poetry by Eamonn Wall

         Grandmother’s Suitcase


When grandmother came to live with us,

mother told me once, she brought

but one small suitcase, all her adult life

having inhabited one guest room at the hotel

she had owned, that granny liked to add

how confined space allowed for certain

freedoms to emerge, not to own or be

submerged in many accessories, shoes,

and clothes.


                                            I recall still her elegance

of dress, how always her face and hands

sparkled with cleanliness.


       Her husband,

a most contrary man, fitted his possessions

into twin containers: a worn brown valise

and shiny shaving bag to join our rowdy band:

visitors all traversing then a green and fertile land.


            Just To Say

At work in the 1980s under Reagan just as

the laws began to change, my boss at John

Jay College, where I adjuncted for a wage,

aired a long preamble of apology before

seeking for review my squat blue Green card.

Today, I hear it reported on the morning news

that America is full, that soon the dancing feet

of Inwood and Central Park will be squeezed

like Grey Poupon through narrow gaps carved

into our President’s magnificent border wall.


          Zazen:  1934-2017

In Memoriam

I was born under the astral sign of Scorpio,

Tall, and simply complicated, some dish

A man has unkindly said of me.

    My home

Is hollow now, blue walls bruised,

Men with wire in train hang packs

And hatchets high above the tree line,

    I note

Their outlines, their tracks are whisks of bone.

In my tote I ferry raspberries and oranges,

Tofu, and a bottle of champagne.

    I ask:

Will you join me down at the beach?

We do not have to discourse or pretend:

Let’s watch and laugh a little while.

Babe, there’s nothing to prove, nothing to gain.



Hawk, Kyger, Bolinas

It is true that there is power with us. But I am so improperly trained.
Joanne Kyger

A hawk descends to my shoulder blade

Furthermore, it’s Friday.


First, I pledge to set my kitchen to order

For glory be

From a copse deer converge at evensong

I boil water for tea.

My books are to their subjects ordered

On the gray sofa

The throw is loosely held and flown like

Light falling westward

Like rainwater from a laden pail Kyoto

Like my lover’s kisses


Like loose chatter cull at the commissary.

Hawk, I seek a line

Or honeycomb to nail fine stitches down

But unbidden as

Mad felines lyrics push through brambles,

Gathering with fauns

Rippling the flat surface that I seek to carve

Reggae, I am scattered

And employed. First, set kitchen to order.

All frivolous tasks avoid.

A hawk descended to my shoulder blade:

Wise. Eager to advise.


Light Vermeer


Light falls

On the lady’s arm

Falls on the wall

Of her living room

As water dropping down a weir

Falls on the woman’s silken dress

And to her neck

Falls and falls again

As if light and time

And space were shapes unchecked

Falling as we fail

And fall again

Falls on the maid’s face

In light of life and revelation

Falls on mirrors

And falls

On letters drawn

Like blue lobelia sunward


A woman performing

On a lute


To the window

For a chord.


And geographers

Toward fired globes


Planets, stars

& captured territories

All into alignment



Rowan Oak Glosses: Oxford, Mississippi


It is late morning in Oxford

cedar and oak as August casts a fiery glaze

across this spooned-out parking lot.



we absorb fragrances inhaled and sold:

I grew-up drab decades following

our own Civil War.

Parched familiarities

suffocate and spin as late morning we stroll

arm-in-arm the Rowan Oak of Wm. Faulkner.


Long bereft

of ladies’ airs, today’s Rowan Oak’s

a dusty death trap.


Colonel Robert Sheegog

a Scotch-Irish planter from Tennessee,

an immigrant like me, raised this home

from Princess Hoka’s Chickasaw trail of tears.


A tourist

visiting from Missouri, I inscribe my mark

in the visitors’ book though my heart leans

toward the interstate ahead, and lunch.


Joanne Kyger by Eamonn Wall

Eamonn Wall’s recent publications include From Oven Lane to Sun Prairie: In Search of Irish America (Arlen House, 2019) and Junction City: New and Selected Poems 1990-2015 (Salmon Poetry, 2015). A native of Co. Wexford, he has lived in the USA since 1982—currently in St. Louis, Missouri.

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