I love the sea, so I have always been very fond of this Norse myth
of red monkeys under the ocean feeding iron bars to the serpent.  They
did this because when the world was made it was too heavy, so the serpent
was given the task of coiling around it to keep it together.  However, the
serpent would get hungry so the red monkeys were given the chore of
feeding it iron bars to stop it uncoiling in search of food, as that would
have been disastrous!


Little boat
On the horizon
Sailing away to nowhere

Rough winds
Send you skirling
Across impatient waters

Fiery suns
Smash colour rainbows
Into the roaring silence

Darkening skies
Threaten spiteful rain
To savage and to sink you

Under the ocean
Red monkeys feed iron bars
To the world’s serpent

Respect the serpent
Whose coils save the world
From abrupt and violent ending

Little boat, come home
Steer quietly into safe harbour
Where I am always waiting

To sail away to nowhere.

                          © 2018 Gwen Grant



Someone has laid out
These gravestones
In a pattern
Of long straight rows.
Edging them
With the beauty
Of green and living grass.

When it rains,
The marble stones gleam,
Speaking of life.
While the little bright flowers
Garlanding this place
Of rest and restoration,
Bring a wide hope
To those who walk
Among them.

The small grey church,
The stone angel
With its handful of stone leaf and flower
Are at home here,
In this place
Of fine shadow and memory.

Where the sunny air quivers
With the presence of Love.

©2022 Gwen Grant.


falling stars

When I was a girl, I was sent away to Kent, to a kind of hospital
school to make me better.  I was only there a year yet that year has given
me memories for a lifetime, good and bad.  The Kentish woods helped me
settle because they formed a link to my much loved woods of home. 


I walked the spine of morning
Whilst the birds slept.
Their little feathered bodies
Absorbing the melody of leaves,
The quiet breathing of grass,
Waking to the delicate sounds of light changing,
Their tiny anthems gathering strength
Enough to fill the woods with song.
Drowning these cool Kentish pathways
With joy and praise.

Where, last night, a falling star
Tumbled through the trembling leaves
Shoring up this world’s quiet beauty.

I saw it fall.
The little wren and the robin at my shoulder,
The nightingale singing into the morning light.
Our eyes clinging to the long radiance
Of Jupiter and Mars shining briefly
Onto that star ridden path.

Setting that quiet Kentish wood ablaze
With the glory of falling stars,
Of little birds singing.

                                 © 2020 Gwen Grant

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



desert blooming       

                  OUT OF THE DARKNESS

When it’s all over bar the shouting,
When the last tear has fallen
And the shocked heart has settled
Once more to its beating.
When the requiem for the lost
Has played its final bleak murmuring
And sorrow brings the broken to their knees,
That is when all that is left is love,
Love is all that is left.

But what good is left-over love
To the shattered heart?
What good is hope
Lying broken in the darkness?

Out of the darkness come the rains
To fill the dry beds of rivers
With water moving silky as young women sleeping,
Rolling and twisting, twisting and turning,
Their long bony feet stretching thinly behind them;
When trees come to leaf like young men leaping
Up branches to touch the first floor of heaven,
Strong hands full of leaves, now full of flowerings
And dry deserts blooming.  

So when all is said and done,
The requiem over and silence soft fallen.
That is when all that is left is love
                 And love is all.

                                                     ©2019 Gwen Grant    




There they all are, one after the other,
Herons going home.
Black shapes against a fading sky,
Beautiful and prehistoric,
None of them looking
At the shadowed trees below them.

Until one crashes the dark branches
To land in moon touched mud
At the side of the silent river.
Looking a bit like a witch
On a wicked broomstick,
Scratchy twigs sweeping
All the little creatures
Out of its imperious way.

Now the trees in the heronry
Are heavy with sleeping birds,
Each quietly contained,
All wrapped up in themselves.

The first stars pricking the sky,
The long dark fish in the water
Flashing a sudden brief silver,
Sharp eyes promising
To eat them in the morning.

Whilst, we, made of earth and sky,
Fold into the stars.  Fold into the trees.
And, at the last, fold into the heron.

                                   © 2020 Gwen Grant