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
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!
SAIL AWAY TO NOWHERE
On the horizon
Sailing away to nowhere
Send you skirling
Across impatient waters
Smash colour rainbows
Into the roaring silence
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
A LITTLE BIT ETERNAL
Someone has laid out
In a pattern
Of long straight rows.
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
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.
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
A NIGHT AT THE PUB
Mario Lanza began to sing
And from a far corner of the crowded room,
Another Mario joined in.
Another and another,
Until the whole place rang
With song and laughter.
Then, in his far corner, Elvis stood,
Quietly singing of love and loss,
Singing of a real reality
Until, one by one, they all fell silent.
Even the drunks hushed their slurred words,
Listening to a song of loss and loneliness
So intense, life meant nothing.
The Bar was silent, breathless with memory
As Elvis sang, and when he was done,
Mario began again.
And beer was passed from Bar to drinker.
Someone ordered a cheeky Campari,
With bright red cherry and a paper umbrella.
Whoa! Hold the soda.
Night pressed against the Pub’s lit windows,
But no-one wanted to go,
To be swallowed by the darkness,
Wanted only to stay here in the mad brightness,
Listening to the singing,
Listening to the daft loons laughter,
Gulping Lager in the corner
And watch the girls swinging
On the tiny, tiny dance floor.
Dancing as if dancing could conquer
The songs they were hearing.
As if being young could conquer everything.
Strange to meet Mario and Elvis here,
Two bony young fellows singing to the drunk and to the sober,
Singing to drown or lighten the drinker’s sorrows.
© 2019 Gwen Grant