WINTER IS COMING
Winter is coming, circling around the house and garden
The grass already white over,
The last of the dahlias bending their heads to the cold.
Over the hedge, a fierce, clear brilliance sets everything sparkling.
Even the big tree, all leaves lost, stands white and starry.
Somewhere, over the fields, a fox barks,
Sending the plump little pheasants huddling deeper into cover.
Darkness down the quiet street,
Split now by a square of yellow light flaring in an anxious window.
Not long after, the long car of a night Doctor pulls up silently.
A brisk tap tap of sharp heels urgent to the waiting door wide open,
Makes the sleeping houses quiver.
All those still awake, sinking deeper into their restless pillows,
Pulling the covers over their heads.
Slowly, the moonlight drifts across the garden,
Lovely shards of icy silver picking out the stray black cat,
Courageous as any Roman conqueror,
Shadowing the grass with his magnificent presence.
Then the creak of an old bench, as someone, out there in the darkness,
Newly bereft and soundlessly weeping clutches at the solid wood.
Praying its solidity will lend itself to their splintered grief
In this new world they are suddenly lost in.
This is the way it is, when winter is circling around the house and garden,
And people are lying in their beds, thinking.
©2018 Gwen Grant
Long listed – Carnegie Medal.
Published – Heinemann and Collins.
Now in Kindle.
Thinking about all the places we’ve lived over the
years, I also remembered, given the circumstances,
just how easy it is to find yourself without a home.
The poet, Robert Frost, said that home was where they
had to take you in, words that stayed with me.
ALL TOGETHER, NOW!
If only I could sing that song again,
The old girl said to her reflection.
You know, the one about having
A safe place to live in.
Though, obviously, that’s not happening
Still, opening her mouth,
She tried a few notes.
Doh and Ray, anyway.
Admittedly, with a bit of a quaver,
Until, settling in,
She sang about home.
That place where the poet said
They had to take you in.
‘Not in my experience,’ the old girl sighed,
Then fell silent, considering.
At last, pushing aside
All her quavering and quivering,
Went on with her gravelly old singing,
Really getting into her stride.
Fearlessly singing the Blues on her lonesome,
Until, hustling up to the chorus,
She flung her arms wide.
All together, now!’ she cried,
And a thousand, thousand voices sang,
‘If only we had a home to be home in.’
©2017 Gwen Grant
THE SINGING TREE
The singing tree
Stands at the end
Of a long old garden,
Its airy beauty
Cherished by the wind.
Leaf and branch
The chosen hiding place
Of the sun.
Snow and ice,
Hard times and long drought
Fall upon it.
Shaking them away,
In its Being.
This is the tree
The angel visited
That long ago morning,
Wide face smiling
Among the leaves,
Letting the little shadows
Offer their shelter.
The singing tree
Sings of the quiet strength
Of wild places,
Of the certainty that hope
Can balance a mountain
On the tip of a finger.
©2022 Gwen Grant
A SLOW SHINE OF CELANDINE
It was on a day that held winter tightly to its bones,
When the whole world was frozen over,
That thin sunshine shone through that bony wood,
Lighting the little trembling ferns
Trembling in the bitter wind,
Gilding the sheath of the bony Birch
Until it shone like silver,
A light to glint and gleam in the new-lit darkness,
To remind us that through the dark times,
In older bones and in the bones of fragile children,
Love has always shone and gleamed and glinted.
Always bringing light to a dark world,
Always bringing love to overcome unimaginably dark forces.
In the dead leaves, in the dark moss,
In the narrow twisted roots of bony trees,
In the slow shine of tiny, tiny celandines all golden and tender,
Beaming beneath the darker and darker leaves,
Their golden heads lifting to the sun,
In the small green buds hidden in their papery sheaths,
Their slow explosions seeking eager life.
Into all this, the ringing of the shuttered bluebells
Send their silent, startling promise that love’s new life
Will always shine into the bony darkness,
Will always defeat it with its full and living sweetness.
©2018 Gwen Grant