COLOUR AND CLOTH

COLOUR AND CLOTH

Sorrow is so easy to slip into,
Just checking colours
In the cupboard
Leads us to despair.
What are we to do with crepe-de-chine,
With cotton,
With strident silk mourning bands
The colour of emptiness?

Caught, as they are,
In the fit of a well sewn sleeve
Where needles have pierced
The quiet cloth,
Where silent cries of agony
Have tidied themselves
Into one long breath of servitude
To continued pain.

As sorrow pierces the tiny joy
That is all we have been able to put by,
All we have been able to save
Out of all the years and years
Of longing,
We bow our heads
To the garment of despair.

What are we to do?
What can be done
To ease implacable grief?
Tears and tears and broken tears.

Love is the colour
That saves us.
Love is the cloth
That sends us well clad
To attend the death of grief.

©2022Gwen Grant

HOPSCOTCH

We played a lot of outside games as children and
one of our favourite games was hopscotch.  In hopscotch
ten squares had to be drawn with chalk on the pavements,
ten squares that began with a single square, then a double
square, then another two single squares, a double, a single
and a final double, all numbered one
to ten.

We all had our hopscotch stones, which we guarded with our lives. 
These were ordinary stones polished until they shone so that they
would speed smoothly to the square we needed as if they were on
wheels.  But you had to judge how much impetus to
give to the stone
and that was the secret!

When you’d worked that out, you then had to hop to that square and
pick up your stone whilst still standing on one leg.  The first
one to triumphantly hit 9 and 10 and able to hop to it without
putting a foot down, through nerves or because you were being
heckled exactly to that end, well, that was the one who won the
game.

There was another game we used to play – high-kelly, which
was doing a handstand against a wall.  You kept your head
up and stared at the red bricks until they were burnt onto your
eyes.  To do a high-kelly in the days when jeans were not an
option, meant tucking your skirt into the elasticated hems of
your knickers so that you were always ‘decent’!   As always,
with every endeavour, there was one little rebel who preferred
her skirt
to hang down over head. Sometimes, you were the rebel,
sometimes it was someone else. But there was always room for
everyone – rebels and peace-makers both.

              HOPSCOTCH

Hopscotch isn’t a game,
It’s a science,
A mathematical challenge,
An exercise into just how far
Your stone will slide
Over those ten squares
Stretching into infinity.

Most important of all
Is the application of logic,
To determine if this
Is an exercise in futility,

Or if you have at last learnt to hop
And stand on one leg. 

                      ©2017 Gwen Grant

THE HIDDEN WIDOW

THE HIDDEN WIDOW

That plump little woman standing in the doorway
Was, to all intents and purposes, simply opening up the shop.

But those who knew, those who watched
From the lace covered corners of an innocent window,
Knew she was waiting for her lover, her creamy cheeks
A sudden flush of pink as he came striding,
Strong, imposing and beautiful, smiling at her.
Someone else’s lover, yes, but longing to take her,
And she, longing to be taken.

The early morning street was silent, the brick and stone,
The wood and shining glass of the great Bank behind him
Waiting for him to return one minute to opening time.

Only the sudden scream of brakes of a lorry labouring past them
Disturbed the peace, echoing the scream of her own heart
As he stepped out of the shop doorway, one minute to nine.

Going back. Returning. Returning to where he would always come from,
That place where she didn’t exist. So, here she was then, the hidden widow.

©2022 Gwen Grant

SAIL AWAY TO NOWHERE

sailboat

I love the sea, so I have always been very fond of this Norse myth
of red monkeys under the ocean feeding iron bars to the serpent.  They
did this because when the world was made it was too heavy, so the serpent
was given the task of coiling around it to keep it together.  However, the
serpent would get hungry so the red monkeys were given the chore of
feeding it iron bars to stop it uncoiling in search of food, as that would
have been disastrous!

 SAIL AWAY TO NOWHERE

Little boat
On the horizon
Sailing away to nowhere

Rough winds
Send you skirling
Across impatient waters

Fiery suns
Smash colour rainbows
Into the roaring silence

Darkening skies
Threaten spiteful rain
To savage and to sink you

Under the ocean
Red monkeys feed iron bars
To the world’s serpent

Respect the serpent
Whose coils save the world
From abrupt and violent ending

Little boat, come home
Steer quietly into safe harbour
Where I am always waiting

To sail away to nowhere.

                          © 2018 Gwen Grant

A LITTLE BIT ETERNAL

A LITTLE BIT ETERNAL

Someone has laid out
These gravestones
In a pattern
Of long straight rows.
Edging them
With the beauty
Of green and living grass.

When it rains,
The marble stones gleam,
Speaking of life.
While the little bright flowers
Garlanding this place
Of rest and restoration,
Bring a wide hope
To those who walk
Among them.

The small grey church,
The stone angel
With its handful of stone leaf and flower
Are at home here,
In this place
Of fine shadow and memory.

Where the sunny air quivers
With the presence of Love.

©2022 Gwen Grant.