Years ago, I used to walk along a deserted northern beach.  I liked walking best at night but, having said that, the walk I remember most was one morning of thick fog when a light aeroplane swooped out of the mist almost alongside me and the pilot waved.  My night walks were usually lonely except that I would sometimes pass another woman walking on her own.  We never spoke, never stopped, yet there was a sense of being together.


beach at night


This woman walks along a stranger shore,
With night dabbed eyes she stretches far alone
To gather in the thin skin glow
Of placid moon.
She arcs her dark mouth for its home. 

She hears the stranger sea and slow cold blood.
With pale stick hands she paints her all life face
Upon the stilly parchment bone
Of caught up dust.
The window of her now time place. 

Stalk woman walking sea and stranger shore,
With spreading life holes hugs the whitened moon
To her lonely pebble breast
In timid joy.
And dances in night’s flower room. 

                                                © Gwen Grant




That conversation had its ups and downs.
Words like axes
Cutting at the very root of joy.
Hacking whole orchards of dreams
Into oblivion.
Throw those words out of the window,
Let the sun cleanse them,
The wind blow them away.

This conversation is fairly bowling along,
Words like flowers
Growing whole meadows of dreams.
No dream excluded.
Put those words in your eyes,
Let them warm all who read them,
The gentle wind blow them into love. 

                                        © Gwen Grant


night street

                          WINTER IS COMING 

Winter is coming, circling around the house and garden
The grass already white over,
The last of the dahlias bending their heads to the cold.
Over the hedge, a fierce, clear brilliance sets everything sparkling.
Even the big tree, all leaves lost, stands white and starry.
Somewhere, over the fields, a fox barks,
Sending the plump little pheasants huddling deeper into cover. 

Darkness down the quiet street,
Split now by a square of yellow light flaring in an anxious window.
Not long after, the long car of a night Doctor pulls up silently.
A brisk tap tap of sharp heels urgent to the waiting door wide open,
Makes the sleeping houses quiver.
All those still awake, sinking deeper into their restless pillows,
Pulling the covers over their heads. 

Slowly, the moonlight drifts across the garden,
Lovely shards of icy silver picking out the stray black cat,
Courageous as any Roman conqueror,
Shadowing the grass with his magnificent presence. 

Then the creak of an old bench, as someone, out there in the darkness,
Newly bereft and soundlessly weeping clutches at the solid wood.
Praying its solidity will lend itself to their splintered grief
In this new world they are suddenly lost in.
This is the way it is, when winter is circling around the house and garden,
And people are lying in their beds, thinking. 

                                                                                              © Gwen Grant


Tradional fairground ride

                  CHANGING PLACES 

The wise woman rises early,
Stepping into clean, fresh clothes,
Pulling on her lovely crease-free trousers,
Her unwrinkled Tee clinging neatly to her shoulders,
Her shoes so sparkling clean and pretty,
Even the flowers admire them.
‘Bye!’ calls the wise woman,
As she goes singing on her way,
Everyone making room for her.

 The tired woman rises far too late,
That extra five minutes somehow getting away from her.
And look! The clothes fairy hasn’t come
So she wears crumpled Tee and wrinkled trousers.
Her shoes so dusty and dull
Even the flowers try to hide them.
No ‘Bye!’ from this tired woman,
As she goes yawning on her way.
But the wise woman makes room for her,
For tired tomorrow, wise today.

                                                    © Gwen Grant



           ANGELS  IN POPLARS 

No-one was even thinking of angels that night,
Not after such a long and busy day.
The two little boys already asleep in their red Mexican beds,
Small heads settled on their pillows,
Touched by the odd flash of evening sun
Burning red brick into palace gold. 

Standing by the old-fashioned window,
Glass as fine as clear water,
I saw their immense and lovely heads resting
Among the leaves of the Poplar trees
At the bottom of the garden. 

Angels!  I knew them instantly,
Knew their wide sweet mouths and quiet eyes,
The delicate leaves shimmering in and out of their lovely faces.
Breathless, I waited for them to speak words of tremendous wisdom.
Words of religious or spiritual concern, maybe,
Or perhaps a pedestrian sentence or two,
Made significant because they were holy.
But they kept their silence, absorbing my own quietude.

There was no smile, no halo, no wings,
No long, shivering gown to hide gold sandalled feet
Nothing but the curve of their inward smile
Promising a sweetness to rock the world.  

I wanted them to stay, to continue
This intense and wordless conversation.
But they had to leave, to go away,
Not with a beating of great wings,
Not with a blaze of light brighter than sunshine
But with a slow and gentle fading. 

So here I am, a lifetime later, thinking of angels
Resting in Poplars. 

                                              © Gwen Grant