tent on beech

When I was a child, I used to watch rain beetles struggling across puddles of water left after the rain. It would take ages for a beetle to get back to dry land. Sometimes, one or the other of us would drop a blade of grass into the water and the beetle would instantly seize upon it and use it but blade of grass or no blade of grass, they never gave up.  Their hard shell like backs were this most beautiful glittering blue.

          RAIN BEETLE

Like a blue iridescent rain beetle
Struggling across a puddle of water,
They tried to set up camp
In the middle of an ocean.

Storms battered them,
Winds drowned them,
Sweeping their tent onto the sand
Where they huddled, trembling,
Watching silent movies of people hurrying
Across the canvas.

Sometimes reaching out a hand
To grab an elbow.  And missing.
Sometimes sticking out a foot
To trip the hurrying image up,
Meaning to catch them.  But failing.

Yet the sea was always singing
Of the sunsets it had seen,
Of moonlight glittering,
Of all the places it had been visiting,
But, especially, of how the cold, clear water
Was perfect for paddling.

Until, tiny splash by tiny splash,
Like little iridescent rain beetles
Fearlessly crossing a puddle of water,
They were, at the last, swimming.

                                        © 2018 Gwen Grant




The wind is bustling around
the house tonight,
Sweeping away the little sparkling cobwebs
Clinging to the walls,
Whistling twigs down the guttering
So that some bird will have to start
Again in the Spring.

Then the snow came.

And the outside cat,
Who came out of nowhere,
Padded across the white grass,
Into the greenhouse,
For his portion of biscuits.

To curl up in the cardboard box
On the old cover set in a warm corner,
And dream of Spring,
When little fat birds would fall
Out of their windswept nests
Right in front of him.

                             ©2019 Gwen Grant

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                 FUTURE TENSE

The old girl lay sleepless in her bed,
Eyes staring through the dark,
Fretting at a future she couldn’t see,
Worrying at the hours and days and weeks
That lay before her.
Sleepless, she sighed again and again
‘If only I knew what the future will bring.’
Until the future, hiding behind the door,
Listening keenly, stepped in.

Picking up two particularly heavy days,
It smacked them round her head.
‘That’s one thing,’ it said.

 Then selecting an especially lovely
String of hours,
Gently laid them round her neck.
‘And that’s another,’ it said.
‘Now, before I go, is there anything else
You want to know?’

 ‘No,’ the old girl whispered, shaking her head,
Turning quick and over in her bed.
‘If it’s alright with you,
I’ll look at the stars instead.’

 ‘Good thinking,’ the future said.

                                                        © 2017 Gwen Grant