Literature 3-24-2008

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Tim Brennan

Read Tim Brennan's winning poem "My Father is Seventy-eight," chosen by What Light veteran winner, Greg Watson. Also: Join us this Sunday, March 30 from 5-7 pm at Magers and Quinn for a wine tasting and poetry reading by this quarter's winners.

Tim Brennan

My Father is Seventy-eight

i am no longer acquainted with you.
When you speak to me,
i do not know what to say.

While you are talking,
i wonder
if you remember
the birch trees
from the beach road house.

They walked at night, moving
to different locations
in our yard, trying to warn us
about the future.
i used to stare at them
from my east bedroom window.

The one at the corner
looked like a naked corpse,
like you look now: white
leafed hair, black spots
on slender branches.

i remember cutting it down
in 1972. It was diseased,
and you said it was the right thing
to do.

We cut it into smaller pieces,
stacking them like body parts
against the cellar door.


Poetry can help us remember things we may not have conceptualized at the time they occurred. It may not mean we gain any more knowledge, but the fact we can put it into words, helps us to perhaps “see” it better. My father no longer sees whatever memories he did have. Writing this poem will helpfully preserve mine.


Tim J. Brennan lives in Austin with wife Jaci and sons Alex & Max. He has taught secondary English for 25 years. Tim’s poetry has appeared in Whistling Shade, River Walk Journal, Main Channel Voices, Rose and Thorn, and other nice places. Tim has numerous short play productions, his most recent last spring in New York City.

This week’s poetry and wine pairing: Voyageur by Alexis Bailly Vineyards

Voyageur is a bold, opulent red wine of blended old world French grapes and new varieties developed to survive Minnesota winters. This complex, full bodied wine is supple on the palate.