This cycle of poems is dedicated to my son Patrick Francis Hanrahan 1979-2002. Today would be his birthday. I wrote them at different stages of his life, the third shortly after his death from complications of mono. It was inspired by the last photo taken of him on his 23rd birthday.
Golden-haired quicksilver boy You crash and rage About the house, All knees and elbows, Tumble of limbs and words In daring, perfect poise Of near-falls, cries, yells. My golden-haired quicksilver boy, Dropped into sleep Your delicate, pale-moonglow face, Curled, uncoiled body Stills.
Red hair aflame And eyes the color of angry seas You are all storm and fire Electrical flash White heat burning Face pale as ash, ash.
In the last picture You were already transfigured, Pale, gold-haloed flame of spirit, Anger burned to ash, Pain dissolving in heat shimmer. Transfigured - As a single candle Is made holy by the dark. You faced the camera, As your fate, Comfortable at last in your bones And easy in your heart, Head cocked, As if, like Red Hanrahan,* You heard a faint music calling. Was it that distant 2Step Garage beat** You sent spinning, Spinning from your fingers Into eternity? When you were snatched Out of this world It was as quick As my finger's click That flashed your white shirt Into a shining shroud.
* Refers to Stories of Red Hanrahan by W. B. Yeats.
**The genre of music Patrick spun from vinyl records as a DJ.