SAILING HOME 

Our house is a harbour full of boats,
All with their sails billowing
In a kind sea breeze.
Some of them have already set sail
Ending up behind one of the clocks.
Not the clocks on the walls,
They only have tiny boats,
Sometimes with no sails at all.
A carved matchstick for oars
To move that little boat along. 

That sounds like hard work! 

Out on those boiling seas
Or tempestuous waters
Pulling those oars,
Being soaked by high waves
Or fudging a stroke, bringing river water
Cascading over our shoulders. 

Still, that’s only the boats
On the big clocks.
The ones behind the chiming,
Polished and shiny small clocks
Have their sails up ready to go
And us ready to go with them. 

Not forgetting the sad shipwrecks
Washed up in drawers full of old pens and dominoes.
Sailors sleeping under tight blue counterpanes,
Eyelashes curving soft shadows on their tired faces.
Do not disturb them.   Cherish them. 

It will all start over again when Spring comes,
Its playful winds blowing the clock boats
And the windowsill boats,
The boats hidden in drawers and the boats sailing
Over the summery shelves of cupboards,
Stretching and tugging, splashing and sailing,
Joyful and exultant,
Over home waters and foreign seas. 

With a bit of luck, us, and all the sailors will be with them.
The moon looking down on us at night,
The clocks ticking and the sun shining on every horizon,
Until this long family are all together again. 

All at  home. 

                                         ©2022 Gwen Grant



scottish road

We travelled down this road in northern Scotland late one evening and it was so wreathed in a heavy grey mist that when the road dipped down, we couldn’t even see the hedgerows. As we moved higher, however, the mist thinned out enough so that it looked like long folds of silk blowing across the fields. Then the moon appeared and the sky and the road looked just like this.


There were six angels playing in the sky tonight,
Tossing stars to each other with easy grace,
Their long grey skirts whirling
Over the country road beneath them.

All was still.
All was silent.
All beauty just a memory,

Until steady beams of light
Came shining down the darkness,
Startling the flowers into sudden radiance,
Chasing the twisty grey smokiness
Over the hedgerows,
As the lovely, familiar sound of a tractor
Came rolling through the air.

Then the whisper of grass
As a rabbit tracked through it,
The long, long sigh of an owl’s wings
And the hoarse, sweet sound of the tractor,
Rose up as a prayer.

                                  © 2018 Gwen Grant


Portrait of a Nile crocodile.

Here is a Christmas poem, once again having been written for Southwell
Minster’s magazine. 

ROOM FOR ONE MORE                                            

‘If all of the world saw the Christmas sky filling
With angels whose wings were silver and shimmering,
Who sang with their voices chiming and ringing,
Until all life on earth heard every last word
Of Jesus new-born,
Think how happy they’d be,’ Chad said, with a smile,
‘But the happiest of all would be the fierce crocodile.’ 

‘Stop right there, Chad,’ Miss McPherson fizzed,
‘That Nativity stable is staying just as it is,
With sweet baby Jesus asleep in His crib;
Mary and Joseph; the shepherds knelt down,
Three Kings all a’twinkle, wearing their crowns.
With a cow and a donkey; lambs sweet as the child,
And nowhere, Chad, nowhere, a fierce crocodile.’

‘Well, that’s not fair!  Why not give him a trial?’
Chad cried, holding up his toy crocodile.
‘Because,’ Sharnia frowned, ‘a crocodile eats
Ears, toes and fingers like packets of sweets.’

Chad was cool.  ‘I agree.  But Jesus,’ he said,
‘Came not just to love the sweet and the kind,
Or wise Kings a’twinkle with sparkling minds.
He came to love everyone, even those we don’t like,
The mean and the vile,
With their cruel sharp teeth and their sharp cruel smile.
That’s how I know He’ll love my crocodile.’

Miss McPherson said, ‘Chad, that is very true.
Jesus loves lambs but He loves crocodiles, too.
And as I look at the Stable floor,
I see quite clearly there is room for one more.’
And Miss  McPherson smiled,
‘There’s plenty of room for a crocodile.’      

                                         © 2012 Gwen Grant




My Dad’s boots were big and heavy,
Black bright with coal dust,
Clogged up on the leather laces,
Solid in the cleats of the soles
He walked on.

Threepence,’ he said, ‘to anyone
Who will clean them.’
There were no takers.

Until I got to thinking
About a crinkly paper bag
Full of lemon sherbets,
Fizzing on my tongue.

©2020 Gwen Grant



Playing Hide-and-seek,
Was ferocious, scary fun.

Adding vast dimensions
To where they played
Or which side they were on.

Hiding took them to fearful places,
Leaving them lost and forlorn.

Seeking forced them frightened on
To hidey-holes and hidden places
Much better left alone.

So they were glad
When they could leave
Hide-and-Seek behind.

Yet here they are,
Much older now,
Trying to find
Their own lost selves,
Soul and heart and mind.

©2022 Gwen Grant