POPPIES

poppies (2)

Every year on Armistice Day, the 11th day of November, at
the eleventh hour, we remember all those who have died
or been hurt in war.  We remember, too, all those who have
been caught up in violence, who have trembled with pain,
wept with sorrow and grieved for the pain and loss of those
they love.  The poppy is the symbol of remembrance.

               POPPIES

Lately, poppies are in the fields,
Beaming amongst the yellow corn,
Smiling in the tall tangle
Of wayward grasses and nubs of moody ragwort
In the hedgerows.
Careless, it seems, of the close threat
Of the dark, the bitter nettle,
Crowding their calm loveliness.

When rain comes, the nettle rejoices
As those lovely heads are beaten into the dust.
For a while, all seems lost,
Until they rise again.
Their scarlet pennants trembling
In the powerful forces ranged against them.
Trembling, yet standing firm.

Frail and beautiful, their petals
A flick of red on the painted air.
Beautiful and frail, as are all who stand guard
Against the nettled strength waiting its chance
To crush that which is fragile.

Yet the nettle has always misjudged the poppy,
Seeing only its frailty,
Blind to its endurance.
And this world is full of poppies
Shining their bright and lovely defiance
Into every place where darkness seeks dominion,
Their crimson glory forever seeding the earth with hope.

                                                               © 2018 Gwen Grant

SONG OF THE BLUES

starry-night-vincent-van-go1

  SONG OF THE BLUES

Blue stars in the garden,
Touched by the slender light of an icy moon
Trying to contain the storm
Throwing itself into a tantrum,
Breaking all it touched.
Spitefully turning the ruffled cornflowers
Into tiny blue rags
Pressed against earth’s vast darkness.

Howlin’ Wolf roared his blue despair
Into the emptiness he knew lay waiting
Behind the beauty of his own rich singing.
Set on making a cool and glorious
                       stream of melody
To challenge and defeat that darkness.
Make it jump for joy.

The Bluesman adding his song
To the precise and perfect loveliness
Of Lawrence telling of his own blue
                       Bavarian gentian
In the frosty month of September,
Its blue light leading him only into darkness,
Into emptiness,
Where Persephone was called back for ever
And Lawrence called for love.

Yet the Bluesman never stopped singing,
Filling that emptiness with the soul of man.
Bringing light to the darkness.
And Lawrence kept his pen firmly in his fingers,
Adding his song of blue gentians
Flowering in the month of September
To the eternal battle of hope over despair.

                                        © 2020 Gwen Grant

QUIET SPACE

quiet cottage

   QUIET SPACE

The space between words
Is a place of great comfort,
Where the mind can rest
And the eye assess
What is to come.
To prepare for the future.
So it is with prayer.

For prayer is the space
Between being and doing.
A place of great quietness
Where the heart can find ease,
Mind and soul
Find new strength
To face whatever lies in front of us.

                                   ©2019 Gwen Grant

 BITTER FROST TO SUNSHINE

frost on grass


 BITTER FROST TO SUNSHINE

All these years, we have lived
With lies as light as thistledown
In our minds.
Memories of those times
We broke with love
Bringing a sad remembrance.
Turning sunshine to frost
In an instant.

These are the memories
We want to polish up.
The ones that make us sad,
Uncomfortable, uneasy.
Make them more forgiving,
Sweeter, perhaps,
As if they had never happened
In the way we remember.

But we know enough to understand
No good ever came
Of turning memories into lies,
No matter how much
We may want to lie or be lied to.

In that dark time, then,
When we can no longer find
Forgiveness in ourselves,
When thistledown lies
Weigh heavy upon us,
Offer them up.

Offer up those memories,
Just as they are.
Offer up those times
We have not loved.
Offer them all up,
Trusting and safe in our trust
That Love itself
Will take each sorry heart,
Turn bitter frost to sunshine.

                                   © 2016 Gwen Grant

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