One of my favourite things is walking.  I used to walk a lot at night,
loving the darkness  and the way the world changed in the fields
and hedgerows, the way the flowers stood out like small moons. 
This was an encounter with a poacher.  They were such silent and
still men, stiller even than the trees and when they heard anyone
coming, it was as if they turned to wood themselves, frightening you
out of your wits when you spotted them.


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 rabbit and the fox
Would all lie down together,
All freeze and die together
In the white and frosted furrows,
To lie there forever.
For ever and for ever.

For I had seen the Poacher,
By dint of old and wicked country magic
Of Deadly Nightshade and 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



Writers are always certain
Those they write about
Don’t know what has been done to them,
Don’t know and wouldn’t care
If they did.

The writers are wrong.

Those captured people,
Old ghosts returned,
Some happy, some furious,
Have a deadly understanding
Of what the writer is about.

Lifting their voices in complaint,
Shaking writers’ cold shoulders,
Awakening them from stolen dreams
When they should have been sleeping,
Leave the dreams alone, pal,’
They know.  And one day
They are going to come back
To haunt them.

Serve those writers right!
Capturing people’s souls without permission.
Caught for ever in a remorseless
Circle of bad and good.
Caught for ever in a circle of helpless love.

                                 ©2021 Gwen Grant.
PRIVATE KEEP OUT!  by Gwen Grant
published by Penguin Vintage  Children’s Classics
available in paperback and as ebook



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


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 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


                 LOST VOICES

These old, cold meeting rooms and deserted chapels are derelict now.
Hiding behind weeds and raw, self-set trees,
Just waiting for someone to come along and buy them.
Turn them into flats or offices.
Not nearly as much fun as a gaggle of people
Singing those great old hymns and songs
That solaced and supported whole generations.
Those dauntless songs and psalmodies that made the white opaque lampshades,
Wide and lovely as floating tents, tremble and sway on the wings of melody.
Now, a lullaby, now a trumpet call of men marching to destruction
Or to share in the lonely and terrible deaths of others.

Here is the tiny kitchen, with the battered aluminium kettle
Rattling against the rusted taps,
Waiting to fill the giant teapots for throats dry after all that singing.

There is the strip of linoleum, torn and dirty on the worn out floor
Still showing its faint brown pattern. 
A skirt of torn cotton hanging from a broken wire
No longer hides the clean cups and saucers
In the deep wooden cupboard, nor protects the plates, big and small,
Stamped with the name of this once much-loved place.
All gone, except a broken fragment of pot with a few faint words remaining.

Standing amongst the cobwebs, the torn pages of old music
Almost playing themselves in the dusty silence,
I hum an old remembered song of such power and beauty,
All the lost dead and all the forgotten living
Ring out their strong and lovely voices in joyful chorus.
Sharing this last remembrance before it is gone for ever.

                                                    ©2019 Gwen Grant