LITTLE BROWN HENS AND RED

 Where we lived when I was a girl, most of the gardens
around
us were like my Dad’s. Full of vegetables, fruit,
flowers and hens. They were beautiful gardens and I
remember our garden
with great fondness. 

  LITTLE BROWN HENS AND RED

My father’s garden was full of little brown hens
High stepping, tippy tapping in and out of the daffodils,
Pecking at the Spring mint, settling in the potato patch,
Always protesting, always complaining.
Not enough of this.  Too little of that.
The wicked tortoiseshell cat pinning them down
With eyes greener than the very grass they trod on.

They would crowd around the kitchen door,
Indignant little bodies demanding hen justice.
But they liked their bit of my father’s garden
With worms trying to live quietly beneath them.

Until my cousin came with his hard hands,
Hungry eyes and a heart intent on killing,
Then I went out shouting,
Scattering the little brown hens and the red,
Causing the dark cockerel
To turn his bitter, livid eye on my hateful presence.

Squawking, they fled, hiding under the hen coop.
Darting into the rhubarb leaves at the back of the tree.
But when my cousin kept coming, when his boots broke
The sunny daffodils, I pushed him so hard, he fell over,
I didn’t care about him.

For my little red hens and brown,
The arrogant cockerel with his angry eyes
All lived to tuck themselves up again
And sleep their tiny pulsing sleep.

To wake in the morning,
Ready for another really interesting day. 

                                          ©2020 Gwen Grant                        

PEA PODS AND PROMISES

tractor

PEA PODS AND PROMISES

Pea pods and pea straws
And fields of green oceans
As far as the eye can see,
And busy little children
Building pea-straw houses
Or getting lost in the green fields
As their mothers pull peas.

They were all told
To keep away from the small river
Where the Kingfisher flew,
Enchanting those who saw
The blue blur, blue on blue.
Tempting one child or another
To slide into the water.

Languorous now, the afternoon wears on,
The sun emptying those green oceans,
The red tractor silent
As little children are found and woken.
Bags weighed,
Coins counted one by one
Into green-dirty hands,
Ready for the waiting corner-shop man.

Time to climb onto the lorry.
Time to go home.

Everything will have changed
In the year that is yet to come,
But the fields will still be full
Of quiet green oceans bringing hope
Of a new harvest.

                                   © 2020 Gwen Grant  

IT WASN’T THE HAPPIEST TIME

IT WASN’T THE HAPPIEST TIME

Walking out,
It was that kind of miserable,
Sulking winter,
With bitter stars
Barely bothering
To hunch their shoulders,
Or tuck themselves into the greyness,
Pulling clouds over their heads,
Thinking good riddance
To the sorry world below them.

Until, as if joyfully
Adding insult to injury,
A skim of sleet
Left the hand of misery,
Whitened the freezing leaves
Of the hedgerows,
Soaking the knitted cuffs
Of my bright red jumper.

    Nature’s fierce laughter
    Sending me home frozen.

             ©2022 Gwen Grant.

MARCH MORNING

MARCH MORNING

Sunshine
Threading through the garden,
Touching the first daisies,
Shining on the magpies,
Turning the water
In the old zinc bowl
Into shards
Of brilliant light.

Staying just out of reach
Of the cat’s lazy paw,
Until it pounces.

Catching the sun
In its sharp white claws.

The garden breathes out.

©2022 Gwen Grant

FOG IN THE MORNING

dinnington infog

FOG IN THE MORNING

More fog.
In the paddock,
Sheep, like ghosts,
Drifting up and down
The grass.

This could be yesterday
When we were all young
Together.

The early bus pulling up
At the Pit.
The sound of boots
On the half-hidden
Pavement,
In time for the early shift.

The rest of us asleep
Until the fog clears.
The sheep
Shaking it off their backs.

The lights of the Pit
Floating it
Clean away.

        © 2020 Gwen Grant