Daniel Cleary: “Fireside”


I “met” Daniel Cleary over Facebook. He lives in Chicago and we know people in common so it is surprising I have not met him in reality. I enjoy his posts, whether they are his original paintings (Dan is a visual artist) or his own poems or work by Yeats.  He posted this poem as a Thanksgiving wish, and, admiring it, I asked if I could post it here too.  Daniel Cleary was nice enough to let me use it and mentioned that “Fireside” received an honorable mention in a contest sponsored by the W. B. Yeats Society of New York, which was judged by Samuel Menashe.



History can probably tell us when
Our ancestors first gathered round a fire
To meet and converse, and, when first began
Those songs accompanied by flute and lyre
That helped to keep the threatening night at bay
And bring those gathered even closer yet.
Much in the same way it goes on today.

No matter how brilliant or advanced we get,
Something inside us, still, keeps calling back
To when we gathered round those winter nights
And watched the flames, and kept ourselves awake
With songs and stories; content, by our lights,
With simple pleasures— glad to have lit a spark,
However small, against the crowding dark.

© Daniel Cleary



Daniel Cleary was born in Tipperary Town, Ireland and grew up there, and lived for a few years in London, England, before moving to Chicago in 1968. His first passion was painting, but he always loved poetry; “though I never considered myself a writer.” He has two books: The Green Ribbon (Wyndham Hall Press) and Elegy for James Gerard and Other Poems for the Larger Voice (Fractal Edge Press). If you’d like to see Daniel’s paintings, check out his website.


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