Brendan Cooney

Finding dusk
and crepuscule wanting,
Shakespeare came up with gloaming.
French muttering of the blue hour,
people on the eastern plains of India
of godhuli bela, or cowdust time,
South Africans feeling the same
need I must have to stretch it longer
to lakutshon'ilanga,
because in my dream I ached
with the absence of the right word,
yearning instead for a camera
to catch the quality these children
ran through in my childhood field,
chasing a kite on no string
which couldn't possibly fly,
canvas in the glowing drizzle,
but there it went, barely at first,
then higher,
only the most recent of the world's miracles.
There was that tragic sense of never-to-return,
some of it in the kite's improbable lurch and soar,
some in those little legs scattering in the last,
grainy, gorgeous, never-to-be-seen-quite-like-that-again

Author Commentary: There are the scary dreams, the sad ones, and the beautiful ones. Ones so ineffably gorgeous that they're impossible to convey through language. I must have known that already inside this dream, since my unconscious wanted to have a camera to record this light. But if words are inadequate to such beauty, so are cameras. Cameras, after all, cannot do what this poem attempts, which is to consider why people name things, or at least to say that around the world people have felt the need to name this magic light. Anthropologists strive to find human universals, things such as marriage and religion, ritual and grimace. But aesthetics? What moves the soul? That's notoriously culturally relative. Here I posit an exception. On a personal level, the dream must have been about a yearning for the wild summer evenings of running through the field across the street from my childhood house in Maryland. That's where it was set. And the relentless urge I'm gradually sailing away from to hold on to the past.




Brendan Cooney Cooney is a U.S. poet living in Copenhagen. His poetry has appeared or will soon in Spillway, Sugar House Review, Canary, Crab Creek Review, Isthmus, and By&By Poetry. He has published essays in Prairie Schooner, Salon, Counterpunch, Chicago Reader, and Outlook India, and journalism in National Journal, Columbia Journalism Review, and other magazines and newspapers. He is also a filmmaker: glimpses of films and other work can be had at: