THE LAST PSALM

children dancing

                                       THE LAST PSALM 

You know when one person sneaks up on another person
And scares them?
Well, this is exactly what happened with us and Miss McPherson
That awful morning when, totally without warning, she flung out her arms
And, ‘Psalms, children!’ she cried. ‘Psalms! Psalms!  Psalms!’ 

The whole class froze.
No-one blinked their eyes, licked their lips or even picked their nose.
But we all fretted
Because the last psalm we ever heard
We had to be the sheep and Phoenix was the shepherd,
Who was supposed to lead us safely through the school and down the halls
But banged us into desks and doors and crashed us into walls
Until, Miss McPherson frowned, ‘Phoenix.  Please!  Sit down.
Let this be a lesson, sheep.  Only follow God around.’ 

Chantal, who’s new, she stood up.
I know all about palms, Miss,’ she said, coughed once, then went,
The tree that is known as a palm, can only grow where it is warm.’
Palms?’ cried Miss McPherson, so amazed,
She had to hang onto the Assembly hall curtain.
Not palms, Chantal.  Psalms!  Like the last psalm.
That dear little, sweet little, neat little psalm
That sings of God and His heavens all studded with stars.’ 

What!’ Tracey asked.  ‘Like Ruby’s Mum who has studs
In places you can see and in places that you can’t?
No,’ said Miss McPherson.
Even though Ruby’s Mum’s diamond studs sparkle in the dark. 

Jason read that psalm and it was really sharp.
Sing and dance for God,’ he read.  ‘Play the lyre and the harp.’
You don’t want to go near no harp,’ Harry warned.
Strum your fingers down those wires once only
And it’ll slice them up like pepperoni.’ 

We hadn’t got any lyres, (Only Charles, ha ha!),
Nor flutes, nor harps, nor timbrels.
But we had drums, Miss McPherson’s old piano, and two shining sets of cymbals.
So, we danced and sang for God until music rocked the school
And tumbled every single person out of every single room
To join in that last psalm song.
But the best thing about it all,’ Clyde said,
The psalm was so short and the joy was so long.’                           

                                                                           ©  2016 GWEN GRANT                                                      

THE SCENT OF CLOVES

carnation

This was my father’s garden, too many years ago to count and yet, the memory of it is as sharp as if I had seen it yesterday.  My father loved carnations.  Carnations and chrysanthemums, the great, shaggy headed, curled-over petalled flowers, which were almost glints of architecture in amongst the more gentle flowers.

      THE SCENT OF CLOVES

The garden was full of carnations
Standing in elegant rows like delicate soldiers,
Or curling up together
In friendly circles,
Their silvery green leaves
Supporting each other.

That spicy sharpness of cloves,
That remembered scent of carnations
Filled the air,
Making me dream of other lives
Lived by fabulous people,
Which, one day, I would discover for myself.

But I never did.
For my own life elbowed those dreams
Out of the way
And gave me carnations.

                                      ©2019 Gwen Grant

FEATHERS

Multi-colored feathers on a white background

           FEATHERS   

Fire is a red feather
Drifted from that hungry old bird,
The sun.
Whose voracious appetite
Devours the world,
Yet whom we keep feeding.

The sun is a yellow feather
Drifted into that pale bird
Of day,
Always nesting in the darkness,
But which is now considering
New quarters in a cave.

Hope is a feather of any colour,
That has, from time to time,
Thought Prometheus a fool.
Yet, hope still shines through
The searing light and inky darkness
That reveals all.
Way too much, in fact,
For any chance of happiness.
But this feather is certain
That love will defeat the lot of them.

                    © 2019 Gwen Grant