poppies (2)

Every year on the 11th day of November, at the eleventh hour, we remember all those who have died or been physically or mentally injured in war.  We remember, too, all those who have been caught up in violence, who have trembled with pain, wept with sorrow and grieved for the pain and loss of those they love.  The poppy is the symbol of remembrance.


Lately, poppies are in the fields,
Beaming amongst the yellow corn,
Smiling in the tall tangle
Of wayward grasses and nubs of moody ragwort
In the hedgerows.

Careless, it seems, of the close threat
Of the dark, the bitter nettle,
Crowding their calm loveliness.

When rain comes, the nettle rejoices
As those lovely heads are beaten into the dust.
For a while, all seems lost,
Until they rise again.
Their scarlet pennants trembling
In the powerful forces ranged against them.
Trembling, yet standing firm.

Frail and beautiful, their petals
A flick of red on the painted air.
Beautiful and frail, as are all who stand guard
Against the nettled strength waiting its chance
To crush that which is fragile.

Yet the nettle has always misjudged the poppy,
Seeing only its frailty,
Blind to its endurance.
And this world is full of poppies
Shining their bright and lovely defiance
Into every place where darkness seeks dominion,
Their crimson glory forever seeding the earth with hope.

                                                               © 2018 Gwen Grant


poachers moon


 That night, when I was out,
Walking the frozen fields,
He was the only stranger,
The Poacher,
Standing still as a death stone
Under the oak tree,
Switching on his head lamp
Only when I was past.
Blinding me and the rabbit,
Blinding me and the hare.
And I wondered if this was the time
Me and the pheasant,
The deer and the rabbit,
The cunning old fox and the hare
Would all lie down together
In the white and frosted furrows,
To lie there for ever.
For I had seen the Poacher,
By dint of old and wicked country magic
Of Deadly Nightshade and of Henbane,
Leap into the sky above us.
His head lamp shining away
Every shadow that would save us.
Until I looked again and saw
The Poacher’s moon. 

                                         ©2019 Gwen Grant