Tim Dwyer – Three poems

my photoTim Dwyer has recent and upcoming publications in a number of journals, including The Galway Review, the stinging fly, Revival, Crannog, Cork Literary Review and Southword.  He is completing manuscripts of poetry and short fiction, including Between Two Shores: Messages From The Irish Diaspora.  He is a psychologist at a correctional facility, grew up in Brooklyn, and lives in the Hudson Valley of New York State. His mother was from Gort and his father was from the farm country near Loughrea.


Liam Clancy,

One last petal floats down the Suir
from the red rose he sang about,
through the town he loved so well.
His voice was one you would hear
from inside your own chest.

The youngest of the brothers,
Ed Sullivan never seemed so young
as when they sang on that Sunday night.
Their album was of the few
that my family owned.
On a small brown phonograph
I played it, again and again.

Forty years later, I will play that record
again and again to my father,
helping him pass
from this world to the next.

As decades passed, Liam became
the last man standing.
He would reach down
to the core of the words,
for the perfect voice
he heard in his mind.

I knew little of his life
outside the music.
I saw him once in New York City,
from up in the balcony.
His warm tones rose
as if he were right beside me.

The words of my aunt from Renmore
come back to me-
the world will never see
the likes of that generation again.

In the last weeks, his mind did not
leave with the fairies,
as did the Dutchman he sang about.
It stayed clear and strong
until his parting glass.

When he could no longer sing,
he spoke the words of a favorite playwright
from his younger, theater days-
coming near death is the chance
we have to begin again.

And so it was. Safe home.


for my friend Paul

I am grateful
for these moments of peace
on this Saturday night
in late winter.

Walking past storefronts
of this small, aged city
the Dutch once stockaded
against British and native clans,
are moments that could be long ago.

My friend, your yellow hair, boyish face
smiling, greeting me
from inside the window
of our favorite bar-
over thirty years ago,
we don’t know we are the past.

It’s the time before craft beers and microbreweries,
before lost marriages and decades,
and memories such as these.


Leaving the old Dutch Library
after the reader’s last poem
of the white dove ascending,
I drive on a road
that once was the Queen’s highway,
once a path Esopus people followed
to visit their Delaware kin.

I am descending
to Hudson’s river
on an August evening,
the coolest night in months.
Crossing the bridge, I see
orange tint in the light,
the changing trajectory of the sun,
shadows angling as the earth tilts
toward the sun’s autumn arc.

I am a perseid meteor,
Swift-Tuttle’s comet dust
descending, burning the atmosphere,
nearing my home
that is passing
to a young family, excited
by what their future holds.

Perseids collide, the present
collides with the past
where my parents have little money
but there is always food,
where love may go hungry,
but there’s always food.
Now, leftover rice,
thinly sliced cheese,
a can of tuna with a bit of spice
gives a makeshift meal.

As night moves in
I look for meteors.
Human voices are gone,
but the backyard birds
settle in their trees, send out
the last songs of the day.
And my cricket friends
start the constant chirp
I can count on all night.

There’s comfort in this
almost peace, where I become
almost happy.

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