Lying in this old house,
Floorboards creaking
Even when the room is empty,
I am a stranger
Standing in strange moonlight
Pouring through the big old windows
Whose thin glass
Distorts the centuries.

I am certain ghosts live here.
At home in dark corners,
Curled up in sly cupboards.

This house is a city
Of stone and brick and oak.
Doors big as cathedrals,
Rooms long enough
To fade at the edges.

If only I could climb
Up the vast chimney.
Escape into the woods
Alive with bird song.

I’ll keep quiet about the pale ladies
Parading up and down the staircase,
Shimmering in their lovely dresses.
Not so lovely when they catch sight
Of anyone living.

Then they scowl until their skulls crack open.

©2022 Gwen Grant.



Closing on midnight,
With the great starry fields
Lying still and quiet in front of me,
Moonlight falling like water
On the silent trees, the dark furrows,
The creaking ice puddles shining,
Holding stars in their frozen silver,
I see the first ghosts
Of those I have known
Drift across the white horizon,
Mist folding them into sparkling shadows
Slipping through my fingers
When I reach out to touch them,
Take them home.

They don’t go far but wait for me,
Blowing the years in front of them,
Opening this corner and that
To let me see again,
All those I have loved.
All those I love still.

Until the snow finally hides them
And I turn for home,
The trees shivering in sympathy,
Anointing my lonely head
With cold tears of their own.

                          ©2020 Gwen Grant


When I was a girl, the winters were ferocious.  The street I lived in was a
small street with no more than about a half dozen houses down each side. 
Every house, or so it seemed to me, had a polished table in their front
room and over that table was a chenille cloth.  Our cloth was red with
bobbles hanging all round it.  I only have to close my eyes to remember
the thick rich feel of that cloth and I don’t have to do anything to
remember my sister.


              The world goes round in tight circles
              As I have always known it would.
              Its intention always to go
              From Spring to Winter
              In one breath.

              When I was first tall enough
              To see over the table top,
              The bobbled red chenille cloth
              Cherried in my fingers,
               I learnt then of dying,
              For in my house that winter
              Our Spring baby died.

             That snow pulsed afternoon,
             The old scissor-grinder, out-lighted,
             Stood under the gas lamp
             Stoning blades of knife and scythe and scissor,
             Sparks spinning from his wheel
             As if that winter day was Carnival.

             I ran from him,
            Snowflakes melting my eyes
            As I wept for my sister,
            Suddenly afraid of the scythe
            And afraid of the scissor.

                              ©2018 Gwen Grant



The woman who ate the moon
Lives in the trees down by the river.
Wait!  I tell a lie!
She actually lives on some small landing
Up a flight of stairs halfway to heaven,
Or resides at the bottom of a cellar temporarily,
Standing on dark, unseen tiles,
Cold, mysterious and unsettling.
Looking fantastically familiar
Should you ever catch a glimpse of her.

She has a habit of singing through the dark hours.
Sometimes of how she is made of paper
Inclined, at times, to burst into flame.
Her mind is full of brushed glass pieces
Picked up on the beach, made lovely
By the steady rushing of the wind-blown sea,
With pebbles, sea-shells, starfish, mermaids
And the bones of the dead rattling amongst them.

After she swallowed the moon, she held it tight within,
Complaining, sometimes, that light shone right through her
And only dragons, biting and marauding, could save her,
Lending her their teeth.

At night, the sky is alive with heroes,
Blazing shields held up, ready to meet the morning.
Great wings of strength and beauty beating behind them
As they go seeking the woman who ate the moon.
But she would only let in
Those who left their shields and wings at home
As she was extremely busy making her own history.

                                                             © 2020 Gwen Grant


Van Gogh


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