In that hour of the afternoon,
Quiet and bare, the leaves having long since fallen,
The woods set firm, thick and heavy,
Sending shape and shadow creeping towards us,
My friend lay in the bunk next to mine
And I watched her.

Watched the bunk slowly topple over,
Saw her black hair suddenly veiled with blossom,
A slow and icy blossom of snow,
Touching her closed eyes, restless and flickering
Under their thin brown skin covering.

I could not breathe for fear but fell beside her,
Lying there, watching her, anxiously whispering.
I could not move until they picked her up,

Gathering her to them like a fallen flower,
A crumpled petal.  Carrying her away.

Now the wicked woods shook with laughter,
Bare branches creaking with loss,
And loneliness, that greedy companion.

Snow falling quietly on all the little girls
Lying in the snow and icy air.

                                             © Gwen Grant   


tulips 2


These Tulips are a dazzle
Of tethered sunshine,
Silky lemon petals trembling
In the slow moving air.

Courteous flowers,
Bowing to each other,
Bending low to the waiting room
Their stems gently curving,
Lifting the green and lovely leaves
That we might see
The fabulous hidden life
Waiting for us all.

                                       © 2019 Gwen Grant


The bright sun

Easter Sunday – when I was a girl, all the children wen to Sunday school, the girls
with new candy striped dresses, white ankle socks and black patent leather shoes and the boys in short grey trousers and new shirts with a sleeveless pullover.  I loved my candy striped dress, sometimes pink, sometimes green.  Happy Easter Sunday.


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


pud 2


Mario Lanza began to sing
And from a far corner of the crowded room,
Another Mario joined in.
Another and another,
Until the whole place rang
With song and laughter.

Then, in his far corner, Elvis stood,
Quietly singing of love and loss,
Singing of a real reality
Until, one by one, they all fell silent.
Even the drunks hushed their slurred words,
Listening to a song of loss and loneliness
So intense, life meant nothing.

The Bar was silent, breathless with memory
As Elvis sang, and when he was done,
Mario began again.
And beer was passed from Bar to drinker.
Someone ordered a cheeky Campari,
With bright red cherry and a paper umbrella.
Whoa!  Hold the soda.

Night pressed against the Pub’s lit windows,
But no-one wanted to go,
To be swallowed by the darkness,
Wanted only to stay here in the mad brightness,
Listening to the singing,
Listening to the daft loons laughter,
Gulping Lager in the corner
And watch the girls swinging
On the tiny, tiny dance floor.
Dancing as if dancing could conquer
The songs they were hearing.
As if being young could conquer everything.

Strange to meet Mario and Elvis here,
Two bony young fellows singing to the drunk and to the sober,
Singing to drown or lighten the drinker’s sorrows.               

                                                     © 2019 Gwen Grant


lost sun

              WHEN YOU WERE HERE

 When you were here
There were hollyhocks in the garden.
Your shadow passed the house,
Stopping before the red lights
Of the Station crossing.
I saw you everywhere then.
The flap of your coat round a distant corner,
Your green shirt adding a leaf
To the darkness of a familiar tree.
In your buttonhole you wore a bright red poppy,
Those blazing flowers that now I give to you
As once you gave to me. 

Still I see you.
There is no road, no court, no turning in this town
That does not carry the imprint of your sandalled foot.
No fence, no wall, no plot that does not hold
The memory of your dark and curious eyes. 

When you came home after the war was over,
You carried me around this town upon your shoulder,
Until I, too, recognised each old leaf and stone
And your friend’s faces I knew almost as I knew your own.        

But now you’re gone,
And all those things you taught and told me,
Which were as close to me as my blood,
Have faded in the bleaching touch of our lost sun,
Except my knowledge of you,
And of your love. 

                                        © 2019 Gwen Grant



         ONCE AGAIN

I am sick of this page,
Staring at me in all its whiteness,
Never once blinking,
Never once having the courtesy
To fill itself with lines of writing.

                                ©2019 Gwen Grant


rock and roll

This is a second posting for this poem.  I have such brilliant memories of those days and whilst I still rock and roll, it’s in a very polite and sedate manner, whilst I’d much rather be whirling and swinging!


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.
                             ©  Gwen Grant