My Enlightenment


The teacher spoke, his eyes per­verse,
Assess­ing us. We’d use a text
He swore “demys­ti­fied the universe.”

With logic we’d explore the gist
Of all the things that New­ton saw
As fleet­ing visions veiled in mist.

“I chal­lenge all of you,” he said,
Then looked around our eighth grade class
To catch some dreamy, sleepy head,

“To live the life of sci­en­tists.”
I swear he paused and stared at me,
Then placed me with the pessimists.


Enlight­en­ment came late that day
While lying in a grassy field
To watch some younger chil­dren play.

As dusk grew near, I watched, aware
Of autumn grass, the clouds above,
And heard a voice within declare,

What book tells all about the sky,
The won­ders of a blade of grass?
What text could even tell you why?

As I arose, pre­pared to go,
I thought of Brunelleschi’s tower,
The face of Michelangelo,

The sculp­tures on Lorenzo’s tomb,
And all on foxed and faded prints
That hung, unframed, inside my room.




T.S. Kerrigan recently retired from the law after a convincing victory in the United States Supreme Court and serving as the President of the Irish-American Bar Association. He is an accomplished poet and playwright and is a former theater critic and longtime member of The Los Angeles Drama Critic's Circle. His plays “Branches Among the Stars” (concerning the youth of James Joyce) was presented at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, and “A Thorn in the Heart,” a treatment of incest in Ireland was presented successfully at the Globe Playhouse. His poetry has been in too many journals in England, Ireland and America to list here. Former Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur described his poetry as “full of life, authority, playfulness, and good rhythms. Renowned poet X.J. Kennedy, former Poetry Editor of Paris Review, has hailed his work as a “rich and vivid collection admirable for the verve of its language-handling.” His poetry is included in many anthologies including Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems (Viking-Penguin 2002), Off the Record (U. of West Virginia 2004), In the West of Ireland (Lisselton, County Kerry 1992), and several others. His latest book, My Dark People was published in April 2008.