POPPIES

poppies (2)

Every year on Armistice Day, the 11th day of November, at
the eleventh hour, we remember all those who have died
or been hurt 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.

               POPPIES

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

SONG OF THE BLUES

starry-night-vincent-van-go1

  SONG OF THE BLUES

Blue stars in the garden,
Touched by the slender light of an icy moon
Trying to contain the storm
Throwing itself into a tantrum,
Breaking all it touched.
Spitefully turning the ruffled cornflowers
Into tiny blue rags
Pressed against earth’s vast darkness.

Howlin’ Wolf roared his blue despair
Into the emptiness he knew lay waiting
Behind the beauty of his own rich singing.
Set on making a cool and glorious
                       stream of melody
To challenge and defeat that darkness.
Make it jump for joy.

The Bluesman adding his song
To the precise and perfect loveliness
Of Lawrence telling of his own blue
                       Bavarian gentian
In the frosty month of September,
Its blue light leading him only into darkness,
Into emptiness,
Where Persephone was called back for ever
And Lawrence called for love.

Yet the Bluesman never stopped singing,
Filling that emptiness with the soul of man.
Bringing light to the darkness.
And Lawrence kept his pen firmly in his fingers,
Adding his song of blue gentians
Flowering in the month of September
To the eternal battle of hope over despair.

                                        © 2020 Gwen Grant

IN A DARK WOOD

trees with light through

Late one evening, we were heading North and we came upon this little
neglected wood at the side of the very quiet road we were travelling on. 
In all the darkness around us, this wood suddenly shone out. 

    IN A DARK WOOD

I saw the light of heaven today
In a dark wood that ran alongside
An old road leading nowhere.
It was around that hour
When the last flare of sun has gone,
So that only darkness was expected.
Darkness, frost and a few delicate,
Bitter drifts of snow
Butting up against the lost
leaves.

Yet, rounding the corner,
That golden light took me by surprise,
For it set the whole wood shining.
Turning the dot-dash-dazzle
Of snowdrops and the yellow celandine
Into a quilted splendor.
The tall candles of frosty trees
Lighting all the little pathways.

This is the amazing thing,
This pure loveliness is all for us,
A winter gift of love.
But the grace of love has always been
To bring light to a darkness
That would otherwise engulf us.

                                            © 2018 Gwen Grant