COLOUR AND CLOTH

COLOUR AND CLOTH

Sorrow is so easy to slip into,
Just checking colours
In the cupboard
Leads us to despair.
What are we to do with crepe-de-chine,
With cotton,
With strident silk mourning bands
The colour of emptiness?

Caught, as they are,
In the fit of a well sewn sleeve
Where needles have pierced
The quiet cloth,
Where silent cries of agony
Have tidied themselves
Into one long breath of servitude
To continued pain.

As sorrow pierces the tiny joy
That is all we have been able to put by,
All we have been able to save
Out of all the years and years
Of longing,
We bow our heads
To the garment of despair.

What are we to do?
What can be done
To ease implacable grief?
Tears and tears and broken tears.

Love is the colour
That saves us.
Love is the cloth
That sends us well clad
To attend the death of grief.

©2022Gwen Grant

HOPSCOTCH

We played a lot of outside games as children and
one of our favourite games was hopscotch.  In hopscotch
ten squares had to be drawn with chalk on the pavements,
ten squares that began with a single square, then a double
square, then another two single squares, a double, a single
and a final double, all numbered one
to ten.

We all had our hopscotch stones, which we guarded with our lives. 
These were ordinary stones polished until they shone so that they
would speed smoothly to the square we needed as if they were on
wheels.  But you had to judge how much impetus to
give to the stone
and that was the secret!

When you’d worked that out, you then had to hop to that square and
pick up your stone whilst still standing on one leg.  The first
one to triumphantly hit 9 and 10 and able to hop to it without
putting a foot down, through nerves or because you were being
heckled exactly to that end, well, that was the one who won the
game.

There was another game we used to play – high-kelly, which
was doing a handstand against a wall.  You kept your head
up and stared at the red bricks until they were burnt onto your
eyes.  To do a high-kelly in the days when jeans were not an
option, meant tucking your skirt into the elasticated hems of
your knickers so that you were always ‘decent’!   As always,
with every endeavour, there was one little rebel who preferred
her skirt
to hang down over head. Sometimes, you were the rebel,
sometimes it was someone else. But there was always room for
everyone – rebels and peace-makers both.

              HOPSCOTCH

Hopscotch isn’t a game,
It’s a science,
A mathematical challenge,
An exercise into just how far
Your stone will slide
Over those ten squares
Stretching into infinity.

Most important of all
Is the application of logic,
To determine if this
Is an exercise in futility,

Or if you have at last learnt to hop
And stand on one leg. 

                      ©2017 Gwen Grant

THE HIDDEN WIDOW

THE HIDDEN WIDOW

That plump little woman standing in the doorway
Was, to all intents and purposes, simply opening up the shop.

But those who knew, those who watched
From the lace covered corners of an innocent window,
Knew she was waiting for her lover, her creamy cheeks
A sudden flush of pink as he came striding,
Strong, imposing and beautiful, smiling at her.
Someone else’s lover, yes, but longing to take her,
And she, longing to be taken.

The early morning street was silent, the brick and stone,
The wood and shining glass of the great Bank behind him
Waiting for him to return one minute to opening time.

Only the sudden scream of brakes of a lorry labouring past them
Disturbed the peace, echoing the scream of her own heart
As he stepped out of the shop doorway, one minute to nine.

Going back. Returning. Returning to where he would always come from,
That place where she didn’t exist. So, here she was then, the hidden widow.

©2022 Gwen Grant