NIGHT ON A COUNTRY ROAD

 travelled down this road in northern Scotland at night and it was so wreathed in a heavy grey mist that when the road dipped down, we couldn’t even see the hedgerows. As we moved higher, however, the mist thinned out enough so that it looked like long folds of silk blowing across the fields. Then the moon appeared and the sky and the road looked just like this.

NIGHT ON A COUNTRY ROAD

There were six angels playing in the sky tonight,
Tossing stars to each other with easy grace,
Their long grey skirts whirling
Over the country road beneath them.

All was still.
All was silent.
All beauty just a memory

Until steady beams of light
Came shining down the darkness,
Startling the flowers into sudden radiance,
Chasing the twisty grey smokiness
Over the hedgerows,
As the lovely, familiar sound of a tractor
Came rolling through the air.

Then the whisper of grass
As a rabbit tracked through it,
The long, long sigh of an owl’s wings
And the hoarse, sweet growl of the tractor,
Rose up as a prayer.

                                          ©Gwen Grant

Yesterday’s Dreams

This garden is in retreat,
Dark red dahlias heralding the end.
Yesterday’s dreams already lying down
With their heads on the pillow. 

Stars glint at one another,
Until a shimmering mist
Swirls its skirts
Over the cold, thin petals
Of the last roses.

But this garden acknowledges no retreat,
Defiantly flowering one final daisy.
Today’s dreams already on their toes,
 Waiting to get a move on. 

                        ©Gwen Grant

THE MATHEMATICS OF LOVE

History is like a shed
We can shelter in
When present life is tough,
And the future
Doesn’t look up to much, either.

Mathematics is like a shed
We can shelter in
When nothing in our life adds up,
And the sum of love
Equals a big fat nothing.

Hope is like a shed
We can shelter in,
For Hope is always at home
With the kettle on.
This is a good shed to live in.

The mathematics of love
Are always the same.
Love plus love equals love,
Until the sum of love adds up
To hope for us all.

Children first.
                               ©GWEN GRANT.

Wallflower Rock And Roll

Buying roses and chrysanthemums
From the woman in the market,
I ask if there are wallflowers,
This morning up for sale.
Wallflowers! says she.  Why, there are bunches
In a box lying just around the corner,
Small and compact plants, to make a garden sing.
But there are no long and leggy gilly-flowers
With their scented velvet petals,
In reds and yellows, oranges, and crimsons dark as blood,
For no-one wants this lady.  No-one wants to take her.
She has to flower and blossom in the shadows on her own.

We were standing down along
From the old and ravaged dance hall
That used to be our golden home in all those years gone by
When quick as a curve in time,
The dance hall years sprang out at me.
With throb of drum and splintered, icy, glitter of guitar,
A fevered trumpet singing silk; the sax’s cool desires,
Then harsh and sweet the singer sang,
And so the dance raged on and on.
Rock!  Rock!  Rock!
Until the street began to swing,
With fast ecstatic dancers in fast ecstatic dance.

No wallflowers in that dance hall, no little flower alone,
For short and compact, long and leggy,
They’re out there dancing on their own.
Rolling with the rest of them, rocking with the best of them,
The swirling, whirling girls with their flaring, sexy petticoats,
On their moving, grooving heels so high; stiletto thin,
They can balance on a silver coin,
Rocking angels dancing, on the head of any pin.
Hot rock with grace, with love and passion,
For though they think they own the dance,
They know the dance owns them.

No wallflower lad stands all alone,
As Princely in his thick soled,
Suede, and mighty brothel creepers,
Cool and smooth in bootlace tie and Lamming gown,
With Tony Curtis curl of hair slickly curling down.
Young lions they stand, fierce, on the prowl,
Aloof and fabulous in their time,
Until the music bolds their blood,
Guitar and trumpet, sax and drum,
When flesh and skin and bone give in,
To make the dance hall sway and swing
To flirty, dirty, rock and roll.
ROCK ON! 

                    ©Gwen Grant

 

Looking Across The Tay

We have a favourite place in Scotland that overlooks the River Tay, so we often just sit there and watch the water.  The Tay is also known as the ‘Silver’ Tay and it really does shine silver.  It’s a very beautiful river.

Behind where we sit, there is an Old People’s Care Home and the ladies are often sat in their little conservatory.  Although they are old and sometimes fragile, you can still see in them the lovely young women they once were.  That they can see the Tay, too, must be a tremendous pleasure to them.

This is the poem I wrote about that Care Home and the ladies.

             LOOKING ACROSS THE TAY

The swans are out again,
Shimmering on the dark water,
Dipping into the splashes of moonlight
they become moonlight themselves,
Every feather sculpted in light.
Little white snowflake swans
Drifting down the silent river.

Behind us lies the Care Home,
Where glass walls welcome the lovely moon
And one lone bed
With a quilt as red as roses,
Lies empty in a corner.    

The old ladies who live there,
Watching the white and sparkling swans
Sailing on the glittering water,
Dreamily send their pretty, remembered bodies,
Down that golden moonlit path.
Frail little birds
Who soon overtake the swans.

This river and heaven
Must have a lot in common.              

©GWEN GRANT

 

Story Time

I wrote this poem after taking a workshop with children who were writing poems and stories about witches, wizards and things-that- go bump-in-the-night.

I was surprised by how hard line the children’s views were, not only on the use of magic powers, but also on what the ordinary people living in tandem with these often malevolent entities, did in response to them.

The children were very hard line!

                                           STORY TIME

Little children tell stories of things
They know by instinct.
Nothing shocks them.
They know wickedness and knowing it
Both makes and breaks its power.

Little children laugh at those
Who would deny witch and wizard. 

In their stories, the poor man who steals the cows
Has good reason to be out in the dark night.
‘The man needs the cow,’ they reason,
‘Because he has no money
And his children will die without milk to feed them.’

 Smiling,
They lock the old witch under the stairs.
She won’t see the light of day again.
But they allow her cow to burn the poor man’s fingers
And are glad that her punishing spells
Turn his eyes to mud.
                                                             ©gwen grant

 

 

Kiss Kiss

When I first started writing, I didn’t really know what I was doing but, what I did know, was that I loved playing about with words.  That was all I wanted to do, just put them down, play around with them, and see what happened, which was how I first started writing experimental prose.  So experimental, in fact, once a sentence was down, I had no idea where it would lead but I didn’t care.  I just followed the words.  But what I didn’t do was impose a structure or form on these pieces of writing.
At some point, just following the words naturally led on to more structured writing, poems, short stories and longer fiction.  So I would always encourage anyone to just put the words down and see where they lead.  At one point, I bought an old sit-up-and-beg Imperial typewriter which I absolutely loved and which really made me feel a writer!  We paid £15.00 for it. 
Then, the advice always seemed to be to write about what you know but as I got more experienced, what I often did was to start with what I knew and go on from there, as in my  long short story KISS KISS, where I took several grains of truth and built on them.  Here’s an excerpt from that story which was published in an anthology……..

     This is one of the best winters I remember because when I look out of the shop window, I can see the whole street glittering and snow plastered to the sides of the lamp-posts so that they look like Maypoles, only needing a handful of ribbons to finish them off.
      Mr. Grogan came back from delivering the Orders, looks at me, then says, ‘You going out tonight, then?’
     ‘Of course, I’m going out.  It’s Christmas Eve.  I’m going to the Palais.’
     ‘Tut, tut,’ he goes.   ‘Never in, you’re not.  No wonder you were late this morning.’
     But I wasn’t late this morning because I got up with our Joe and walked with him to work.  He starts at half past seven.   It was bitter cold when we got outside but I was sick of lying in bed, watching the clock tick tock tick tock tick tock all night.
    I was glad I’d put my stilettos in my bag because it had just started to snow.  It was so heavy, it was already lying and there was a bit of a wind, so before we’d got to the end of the street, we looked like snowmen.
     That was when Joe said, ‘I’m signing on for the Army.  I’m not waiting to be called up.  I’m fed up of the life here.  There’s got to be more to it than this.’
     I always knew he’d go.
     ‘When are you going to sign on?’ I asked, and he said probably the first week in the New Year.
     ‘Then I’ll be gone by Spring.’
     I want to get away from this town, too, but where my Mam’ll say, ‘Good idea,’ to our Joe.  ‘Get yourself off and learn a trade.’
     To me, she goes, ‘You are not going to Canada, full stop,’ yet he’s only eighteen months older.

ebook Kiss Kiss is available on Kindle and Smashwords.