Tim Dwyer – Completing the Canticle

P Tim Dwyer LE P&W Vol 1 2019

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Poems Tim Dwyer

Tim Dwyer’s chapbook is Smithy Of Our Longings: Poems From The Irish Diaspora (Belfast: Lapwing Publications, 2015). His poems have appeared in Cyphers, Orbis, Southword and the stinging fly, among other journals.  Born in Brooklyn, parents from Galway, recently from Connecticut, he now lives in Bangor in the north of Ireland.  He recently retired as a psychologist at a women’s maximum security prison in New York State.

Completing the Canticle

Your wounded eyes could no longer bear
the light from the brothers, fire and sun.
Lying on the pallet in the dark hut,
you listen again
to the larks and swifts
flying above the chapel
where twenty years before,
your conversion began.

Sun, moon, fire, water
and your sister, mother earth
were already in the song.

Leo and Giles by your side
as you whisper a final stanza-
praise sister, bodily death,
second death will do no harm,
eyes once more bathed in light.

How you get there

Drive beyond the village cross,
onto the narrow road
named for a farmer long ago.
pass the elite estates,
through a snowy hollow
where time is still.
then, surrounded by hills,
the prison compound where
gold finches alight
on spaces in the razor wire.

through morning fog,
a deer meets a woman’s gaze
beyond the double steel fence.


Wildflowers blanket
the hills of Malibu now.
The earth was scorched, barren,
then infused by winter rain.

A woman rides her palomino
rescued from November’s wildfires.
Hills so lush,
they remind her of Ireland.

The naturalist tells
of the ecology of fire—
meadows of western poppies,
dormant for decades, they bloom
after the ground is charred
and then reborn

Inspired by a story on Morning Edition,
a radio news program on National Public Radio,
Washington, DC

Meeting Isamu Noguchi thirty years after his death

Entering the museum, I am surrounded by monuments of basalt. I agree, stone is the affection of old men. I am drawn more to The Stone Within than to Deepening Knowledge. More at home with Downward Pulling than with The Spirit’s Flight.

I sit on the bench crafted from the Ailanthus tree, tree of heaven, preserved from the lot behind the mechanic’s shop he transformed to this museum. Before the tree’s death, it was the center of the sculpture garden. Visitors pass the bench as they walk among the sculptures in temple-like silence. I imagine sitting here with him. Isamu, I don’t much time left. What can you tell me?

Others randomly open the bible to seek an answer. I find your words in the museum guide: I returned to the stone later, seeking a deeper truth of sculpture, something abiding which is beyond the transience of the day.

Thank you, Isamu.

Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) was among the twentieth century’s most acclaimed sculptors. In 1985, he built a museum for his work in Astoria, Queens. In italics above are titles of some of his works and his statements, included in Noguchi Garden Museum. New York: Abrams, 1987.

© Tim Dwyer