Five Points, Vol. 10 No. 3

Fall 2006

From Richard Howard, “I’ll have to go back a ways in order to respond. In teaching the works of Marianne Moore, of George Santayana, and of Henry James, I run into this question. These three people, apparently, had very little erotic connection with any other human being, as far as we know.”

Sample Content

Eamon Grennan

They’re feeding each other, two small birds
swiveling on a sea-stone, open beaks
kissing and closing—creatures seeing to each
other’s needs without question, drawing
the big world into their brief circle
of wing-quiver, heart-shiver, quick cries
as if the nerves themselves gave tongue,
the path between desire and satisfaction
shorter than thought, the ground dividing
being from being—one flesh-protected
spark of life from another—covered
in no time, so even time, for the moment,
is a matter of no moment, smoke that
vanishes into air, into thin air, to leave
but a flaring thing behind—candescent,
burning its one good instant till all is ash,
redemptive breath recovering itself,
eyes seeking in eyes an answer
to what’s happened. The fire at the heart
of things is what these two birds ignite
in their give and take, saying we live
in the one world—where some law of
loving exchange is what tends the blaze
and can startle us into a kind of intermission
of peace between two clamorous cliff-
crumbling waves that rear break roar and
rip to shreds a coast of stone, unsettling
the air we stand in with a surf-storm of
salt-light that bites our eyes, blinding them.