Thursday, May 24, 2012

Father's Eyes

Father’s Eyes  by Kevin Cahill

I watched you before you knew what it meant
to be held or to blush,
the first time you blinked and collapsed the space 
between my eyes and yours,
the world grew large, fitting neatly within
your cupped hand,
for awhile you skipped in that small spot of light
forever before me,
skirting shadows, a picture ready for the taking 
a smile flirting with the truth,
your face upturned always, the question ever
present, Father, do you see?
I too would smile and say,
yes sweetie, I see.
My great pleasure was you not noticing
as I watched.
Seeing you, in repose, at play, or awake in your
own skin, your face soft and grave,
your eyes absorbed by a ribbon of blue
tangled in a doll's hair,
too far, too deep to fathom, too secret 
to disturb,
But then came the hiding, the love of distance,
the veiled lids,
A father’s eyes, useless and prying, chasing
you into shadows,
Secrets sprouted like mushrooms, hands flying up
to shield our faces,
It was better not to look, better not to see, better
to dream,
A father’s eyes grow dim even as the world
blooms around him,
I hold what I see more dearly than ever, more
clearly than I remember,
For I remember only shadowy things flickering
on sheet rock walls,
and also red stains on linen sheets, damp dark streaks 
upon smooth cheeks,
Strands of dark hair framing dark beautiful
eyes, unblinking and wary,
My eyes register rumors of changes, tempting me 
to ask you, Do you see? 
Do you see? I imagine dancing
before you,
clumsily searching out the spot of light where '
you happen to be gazing.
My head cocked coyly to one side, as I wink and dare 
you to ignore my antics.
A father’s eyes may yet twinkle, as yours did when
when a red balloon sank into the sky,
and the world grew large, stretched far beyond 
your fingers,
And floated away above silent hilltops, nestling
finally in a tale 
where the small cupped hands of a stranger's
child, her eyes blinking wide
as if peering back into a telescope and asking,
Do you see?
 Do you?

May 23, 2012

The Weight of 8

The Weight of 8 
by Kevin Cahill

When you were 7 you couldn't wait,
you hated the wait for birthday 8.
The kitchen calendar you marked the date -
did I say "hate"?... I exaggerate!
Impatient at the rate Time did frustrate
you. But remember, that was then
you were but a wispy thing of seven,
though truth be told, seven was heaven.
7 served us art upon an empty slate
taped to the walls the things you did create.
But 7 glides away on slippery skates,

and in its wake a trail of figure 8s.No, you didn't hate the wait for 8,
but at your bed while I would relate
tales of clever maids and secret gates,
in your unsleepy eyes I'd spy the trait
of dreaminess, late at night, dreams of 8.
How great it would be to wake up 8,
how you'd grow so tall and straight,
how you'd find a cookie on your plate,
and how you'd get to stay up late.
Now you're 8, and life is great,
even better than when you were 7.
Imagine how you'll feel when you're 11!
But let go all haste, simply enjoy 8,
Let Fate run on. Here with you I'll wait

and learn to bear the weight of 8.  

May 1, 2009

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mother

My Mother
by Colm Cahill

She is a blue bird swooping
over her nest made of twigs.
She is Paris, France
swaying in Eiffel Tower.
She is the dark blue sky above.
She is the moss
on the north side of a tree.
She is the brave
in a clandestine mission.
She is a pancake
flipping in the air.
She is Easter,
finding the eggs.
She is the sand
trickling down from a pyramid.
She is my mother.

The Giver

The Giver by Kevin Cahill

Your are the mother.
Of all givers,
you are the one.

In the very beginning,
in the middle of night,
and at the end of every day,
you gave and you gave.

From here my footsteps 
trace backwards to you
in a place I cannot conceive.

Forever all my tomorrows
are born of your yesterdays.
Each moment holds you and me
together in perfect stillness.

I who am no longer a child,
who took it all
and who labors now -

as you must have years ago -
to give as well as I got from you, 
mother. Of all givers,
you are the one.

May, 2008

Life in the After

Life in the after

by Kevin Cahill

birth is just how
it ends
one flesh inside
swaddled in amniotic
an ocean of good
the shore but a
and then you
the prickly dark
tree-lined and
the rounded hills
places where the new
will one day
be secret the way
you did
before the birth of your
after you left your
to be born again
to be
heavy to swell like
the sea
these longings cast you
there on rounded
only a mother knows this
and what it means
to be
borne away and live


Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Analog  by Kevin Cahill

clocks break fasts upon a round platter
festooned chronologically in slices minute
enough for us to monitor our wait or devour
dwindling seconds as if it were no matter.

Calendars, meanwhile, provision us with portals -
anniversaries, appointments, extend telescopically...
But see too remote archipelagos of empty boxes,
heralds feting human hope, unbound and immortal. 

December, 2009 

Monday, May 07, 2012

Just in Time

Just in Time - a poem

Just in Time

This place in time
this moment in space
it swings on hinges -
a vacant parking lot,
an empty seat in the clinic,
a deserted beach.

Any where any time
it is odd -
odd to be in time,
just like it’s odd
to be too late,
to find a car already there,
the seat and the last magazine taken,
Frisbees slicing the view
and sodden candy wrappers at your feet.

Just like its odd to occupy a place
as if it were your birthright,
the slot by the curb,
the chair by the window,
the sand swept clean.

It’s odd to be alone in this way,
if only for a moment,
to feel the coin drop,
the spheres move,
and tumblers fall into place
and everyone else in the world elsewhere
or maybe on the way,
nearly here perhaps
or not nearly early enough.

Yet here you are
just in time
haunting a spot,
forever leaving,
perpetually mistaking
the space before you for
the time it took to get there.

by Kevin Cahill

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Pot of Gold

Pot of Gold
by Kevin Cahill

This morning felt like winter.
A cold wind bringing down tree limbs
A thick mantle of grey clouds.
But later, brilliant patches of blue.
Then sudden gentle showers -
October has many minds-
As the sun descends

it leaves a splashy rainbow for an encore.
Tomorrow I'll content myself
with golden leavings on the frost-kissed grass.
I'll kick at them and think,

It must be here...the end I mean.

October, 2007

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Lights Out Jesus

Lights out Jesus
by Kevin Cahill

A statue of Jesus has the high ground herein San Sebastian,
he stands erect on a hilltop overlookingthe port city,
the index finger of his raised right handpoints up
as if to remind himself of something he wasabout to say
or perhaps it's to check which way the windis blowing
Down belowwe walk along the promenade
we turn down narrow streets
occasionally you say to me,"Look! There's Jesus."
But every time I look up he'sobscured by a lampost or a tree
doubtful I shake my head -missed him again.
If you don't tire easily you can get
around the other side of Jesus.
From there you can seewhat it looks like when Jesus
turns his back on you.
I'm tempted to climb up there,to look over his shoulder
past the radio antenna on his backand to try to see
just what he's looking at.
But it's a long way to Jesus
from here and it's getting late.
Instead I stay down by the water
and watch the sun go down
while my own son works faithfully
to make miracles with his camera -
wonders of light on water,
epiphanies of ocean spray in the air,
inspirations of swelling, breathing tides
It is a Saturday night,we forget about Jesus,
it is time to eat and we go
to make our pilgrimage
to the tapas bars,
from bar to clamoring bar
we go in search of something
we can devoutly sink our teeth into
where food is for the taking
and where nothing is written down
and all accounts are settled
face to face in perfect faith
.everyone is drinking, eating, smoking
and speaking all at once in strange tongues
It is past midnight,
early Sunday morning,
when we start the long unsteady walk home,
the lighthouse on the island is dark,
the sea is dark, the sky too,
but Jesus is illuminated,
he floats magically in the void.
If you didn't know he was a statue on a hill
you'd swear he could walk on air.
And then without warning...he disappears,
lights out, gone.
I look at my watch. It's 2:00 am.
"Huh," I say to my son who's staring at nothing,
“Maybe we'll see him again in the morning.”

May, 2007

Thursday, May 03, 2012


Eleven  (For Tess)
by Kevin Cahill

Listen, I have a confession,
I'm a little sad you're turning eleven.
Ten was like a taste of heaven,
you tinkered artfully in self expression,
you cut your hair, your brave progression
into algebra, and of a horse taking possession,
all this you did before eleven.

Eleven promises even more,
your voice is louder, more secure,
your drawings bolder, the lines more sure,
my ears await the songs you'll sing,
the melodies you'll tease from fiddle strings,
your forehead pounding on my chest,
your love of silly jokes and jests.

Eleven means you'll turn the page
and learn to act a brand new age,
still wanting whatever is the latest rage.
Ten, eleven, twelve in waiting in the wings,
like you I wonder what the future brings.
Look ahead and bravely see what you can see,
behind you stands your faithful family.

May 3, 2012

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Open Spaces

Open Spaces
by Kevin Cahill

when she looks at me
I understand only
that we have to get
this close
to see how infinitely
far away
we are from one another
I have to caress her bare skin
carefully, tenderly
to feel how far we have
stretched the tissue of gesture
the skins of words
that clothe us barely
and when I look into her green eyes
I understand only
that I might not be
here or there
that to dwell daily
in the heart of open spaces
that to fall nightly
into their spiraling silences
is to be held aloft
even if only for an emerald instant
before I behold those eyes
dart down like falling stars
and, plotting their trajectory,
I spy the safe harbor of a
hardbound book on the bedspread
or the narrow, familiar terrain
of her own wrist…
and when at length,
her eyes are swept
back up to me behind
their lovely lashes
I understand not even
this much

June 29, 2007