A SLOW SHINE OF CELANDINE

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

         A SLOW SHINE OF CELANDINE

It was on a day that held winter tightly to its bones,
When the whole world was frozen over,
That thin sunshine shone through that bony wood,
Lighting the little trembling ferns
Trembling in the bitter wind,
Gilding the sheath of the bony Birch
Until it shone like silver,
A light to glint and gleam in the new-lit darkness,
To remind us that through the dark times,
In older bones and in the bones of fragile children,
Love has always shone and gleamed and glinted.
Always bringing light to a dark world,
Always bringing love to overcome unimaginably dark forces.

In the dead leaves, in the dark moss,
In the narrow twisted roots of bony trees,
In the slow shine of tiny, tiny celandines all golden and tender,
Beaming beneath the darker and darker leaves,
Their golden heads lifting to the sun,
In the small green buds hidden in their papery sheaths,
Their slow explosions seeking eager life.
Into all this, the ringing of the shuttered bluebells
Send their silent, startling promise that love’s new life
Will always shine into the bony darkness,
Will always defeat it with its full and living sweetness.
                                             © Gwen Grant                                         

ABOUT BOOKS No.1

st andrews

ABOUT BOOKS No.1.

On a freezing winter afternoon, looking over the fields only gives the view of swirls of fog pushing into the garden, over the gate and into the apple tree.    

Last year, I bought Vol.1. of Walter Benjamin’s Selected Writings 1913-1926 and have been reading his essay on ‘A glimpse into the world of Children’s Books’ which is extraordinarily interesting. In the middle of this essay there is an absolutely lovely nursery rhyme from an old German picture book, ‘Steckempferd und Puppe’ (Stick-Horse and Doll) by J.P. Wich.

This rhyme tells of all the things a little child sees in a town and, in particular, how the child sees a cat.  The rhyme ends with the enchanted child thinking what a lovely little place the town is and, ‘I’ll make a note of that.’  There are many such lovely little places and, whenever I find myself in such a town, like the child in the story, I, too, ‘make a note of that.’      

I do wonder who else but Walter Benjamin would introduce an essay on children’s books with this quotation –‘A soft green glow in the evening red.’ by C.E.Heinle, but this is the thing about books and writers.  They bring such joy and delight with them.

DANGEROUS HARBOUR

  Image result for stormy harbour

DANGEROUS HARBOUR

As we stand here,
On the edge of the world,
The wet streets peeling away
From the tiny harbour,
The sea, in a fit of spite,
Swirls and tumbles
Onto the stony shingle,
Rattling the shells
From one bony ridge to another,
Hissing its peevish laughter
At the moonbeams dancing uneasily
Down this stretch of wild water.

Until, in a fury of authority,
The moon calls all to order.
Combing the white frilled water
Into its thin silver fingers,
Braiding light into the aching darkness,
Its own face darkening as it considers
The water’s bold and fierce behaviour.

Now look what’s happened!
The moon has turned her back
On the tiny, frozen harbour,
Battered by the shell hung water,
Smashing foam flowers
Onto the old stone causeway,
Onto our icy, hasty shoulders,
As we run helter-skelter for safety
To a deep and far away doorway.

Now the sly and sliding waters
Try to tumble us off our frozen feet,
Try and pull us into the rolling sea
To be another bony shell in the making.

                                   © Gwen Grant

STOP

 

       Image result for daisies in field 

       STOP

Every child
Should be able to grow up
Without a gun
Shooting at them.

Every child
Should be able to grow up
Without a bomb
Dropping on their head
Making them dead.

Every child
Belongs to love,
So let us join heart to heart
And love them.

                    © Gwen Grant

PATHS

mountain_path_by_jim_the_alchemist-d2z6kf8
We see things all the time that make no sense.  Things that set us
wondering how they exist  at all and this poem was made after I saw one such thing.  We were walking up a very, very small mountain and I was wandering along one of its paths, when I saw this one particular path. I followed it and found that it led to the very edge of a high point.  Below, rocks were tumbling down a steep and dangerous slope.  Why did the path exist?  I stood there with a thousand questions, questions there was no answer to, as there never is when we see something that doesn’t make sense.  The only thing to do then, is to write a poem.

                               PATHS

There are paths all over this mountain.
They run through rock
And over grass,
As if a thousand feet
Had worn them into the ground.

Some paths go on for ever,
Winding up and down
Until we can no longer see them.
Others run a little way,
Then stop.

We walk up and down these paths,
Wondering who made them.

Especially do we wonder who made the one
That runs straight off the edge of the rock.

                                         © Gwen Grant

EARLY CATS

cat hunting bird

It has been very cold here, lately, and the two cats that
are around the fields and the garden, one our marmalade
cat and one his sworn enemy, the black cat, are so lithe
and graceful in their hunting, that I often stop to watch them.
The black cat is a stray which we feed and have put him a
bed in the greenhouse.  Our cat is so jealous, he will stand
guard over the food put out for the black cat until he’s called
They both try hard but are never within sight of catching a
bird.  If our cat brings in one of the little brown field mice, he
always drops it and then, with it being so small, we have to find it.
Not easy.  The last one hid in the round opening for the hoover hose
and took us hours to find.   Let out into the garden, these tiny
mice vanish in an instant down the sides of the path where they all
seem to live.

                            EARLY CATS

If you walk the long grass in the morning
When it’s white with frost
And grey with the visiting clouds,
You see the cats.
They stalk the robin and the doves
Come from a nearby garden.

Those snake quiet cats
Slither through their silent world,
To spring from the stickle grass
With a startling coloured grace.
Those cats!

They go hungry this morning
Because a thin black twig
Fell from a wintered tree,
Frightening the red chested robin
And the gentle doves.

And those quick cats,
Those early morning hunters,
Wailed their anger to the fading moon.

                                   © Gwen Grant

AND WHEN NIGHT COMES

 

full moon

     AND WHEN NIGHT COMES

And when night comes
And darkness drifts over the earth
And fields vanish
And hedgerows become blurs of colour,
And the falling frost
Lays a bridal veil on the darkened grass,
And the lovely trees,
And all trees are lovely,
Fill the darkness with their magnificence
And their little inked-in leaves
Chuckle and rustle and whisper of the love
Shown for us in the drenching beauty of the night,
And the thin, thin beam of moonlight
Shines down like hope shining
Through the darkness of all those lost lives,

Well, then, that anxious heart
Staring through the midnight glass
Should find rest.
But those ears are deaf,
Those eyes blind to the radiance of the night,
Seeing only the darkness of the hour,
And then, for it is then, the frightened,
The fractured heart cries aloud,
O God, my God, where are you?’ 

And as the dying echoes of those trembling sounds
Vanish into the vanished fields
And sink into the blurry hedgerows,
The little inked-in leaves rustle and chuckle
And whisper those eternal words of love.
I am the light to your darkness,
I am the hope to your despair.
I am the peace to your pain.
I am the love you can rest on.’ 

                                              © GWEN GRANT