Posted by: Peadar Ban | May 4, 2013

In The Shadow Of The Sun

(Thinking of my Grandmother, Catherine Ann Fanning)


She was always old and ever more

She became wander eyed, hollow cheeked.

Her speech left reason in the dust

Rambling among ruins of thought and circumstance.

Leaves and birds were waves along the ocean tops;

Mountains, reveries and sips of wine,

Poetry pulled from a bag of rocks

She carried on her walk through town

Her fortune and her only friend

Baance, ballast and fare to pay

Should the bus come her way.


“I have it here in my bag,” she’d say,

Shaking the old thing.  It clattering away

The dry sound of bones in a bag,

Punctuation, and a smile so sad

You’d like to cry.  But still she’d bend

To the work, searching through her history.

Work worn fingers she would spread

To show her strength, her generosity.

Her eyes full.  Her hands empty.


Growing stone at the bottom of the sea

One grain, one diatomic shell by shell

Builds white cliffs like waves aling morning shores.

A thousand centuries and ten thousand more

Aren’t enough to raise it man high from

The waves around.  She was Helen, like

The sun at home, and stole herself beyond

The West where she became her own white

Cliff in memory.  Her rock high against

The shadow of the sun emptied into her.



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