This Much
(For Osian)

Further than Charon
and the Ice Dwarfs, so far that
even the bright green
of the Cat’s Eye has faded,
morphed to a faint red-tinged sheen—

And deeper, deeper
than the roots of the jutting
black smokers, beyond
the fluorescent jelly flutes
of strange lonely wanderers—

Much brighter than the
flaring super nova sun
than all the solar
light from all the galaxies
so bright there is no shadow

no shade, not even
one, no faint line marking where
lands join seas, no dark
cooling sun spots, just flares
of incandescent white gold.

All this for ever,
wound tight as life through my heart,
bright and far and deep
as God Herself, as safe as
the sound of rain while you sleep.

This is your answer,
my greedy T-Rex, my swift
vicious Caurnator.
This is how much, I am sure,
this much I love you, and more.

© Eabhan Ni Shuileabhain



Finding God

I have searched in the steady whirring
of grasshoppers just this side of quietness,
in the wind moving through trees,
its sound changing according to leaf size,
in the lazy slap and shush of the sea.

I have searched among grey concrete slabs
emboldened by glowering gargoyles,
searched in the neat ordered parks
where flowers blaze by fountains,
searched in the mass of city humanity.

Once, I found God in the darkness of no light,
when someone gave me a subway seat
just before I fainted and all I felt
were hands guiding me to rest;
trust was not a difficult choice
when it was the only one I had left.

Now, I find God in my son,
able to sleep because I stand watch—
God is in his pictures of anglerfish and shipwrecks,
in the way he rests his life in my hands,
in how, at six, he still climbs up me
and simply hangs from my neck in joy.
© Eabhan Ni Shuileabhain




They’d been talking about it in school,
saying it was your parents who put the money
under your pillow while you slept.

But you said that was impossible, you’d have woken up!
One lad told them “Leave him believe, don’t be so mean!”

And that made you the most suspicious.
So you asked me, straight out, “Are you the tooth fairy, Mam?”
Your disappointment was dwarfed by incredulity that I could
put the money under your head while you slept.

And then your dad asked me
“What did you do with his teeth? Did you throw them out?”
And you asked “Yes, Mam, where are they? Do you still have them?”

I brought you upstairs, to the small jewellery box, inlaid with mother of pearl,
and opened the second drawer. You could see the last of the red sunlight
catching in the silver and gold of the metals, glinting off the gold threads
in the red velvet cushions, catching the edge of the little diamonds.

I took out the silver pendant from Nepal that the Buddhist monk had given me,
the one you used to open as a toddler every chance you got.
“In there, Mam, are they in there?” you whispered.

I unscrewed the little silver screw and gently opened the sphere.
Inside we counted eight little milk teeth, rattling gently around
until we tipped them into our palms for a closer look.

“How could I throw them out?” I asked.
And by your quietness, by your soft smile,
I knew the tooth fairy wasn’t dead after all.
© Eabhan Ni Shuileabhain