OCTOBER

OCTOBER

October now,
Bringing the first sighting of Winter
Leaning on the fence
Like any old farmer
Looking over his fields.

The fox,
Running for cover,
Leaves his tracks
Across the set-aside meadow
Full of weeds,
Thistles and the odd potato
From last year’s crop.

Winter,
Thinking it over
Like any old farmer,
Perches on the farm gate
Planning a harvest
Of icy nights and bitter mornings,
Of frost bitten fingers and frozen water,
Of glittering trees and silver beauty

And white, white air.

                                   ©2021 Gwen Grant.

MY DAD’S KHAKI GREATCOAT

MY DAD’S KHAKI GREATCOAT

If only I could hear again, 
The whispering snow 
On candled window pane, 
Or see the glow of gas lamps lit 
To light the dark and silent street. 

If only I could hear again 
The milk cart rumbling, 
The milkman grumbling, 
Crates of bottles clinking, chinking, 
By doorsteps white with snow.

Hear again a door creak open, 
A voice quiet and softly murmuring 
To the milkman frostily crunching 
His bitter way down the icy morning.

If only I could see again 
Those lost now and gone. 
Touch the khaki greatcoat spread 
Across the cold and icy bed, 
Brass buttons winking and we remembering
Some once read stories of tired soldiers
On edgy watch for some gun glinting
Out in the wasteland darkness.

A thousand different greatcoats lying
Reckless in the frozen mud.

If only I could hear again
The crackle of the coal fire burning,
Quiet voices murmuring, teacups rattling,
The smile of one, the touch of another.
The warm hand pulling the covers back
That lie freezing on the frozen bed.

Wake up! Wake up!
The war is over.
Hold memory tight
For nothing will be the same again.

                                         ©2021 Gwen Grant.

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YESTERDAY’S DREAMS

The dark red dahlias seem always to be the last flower to give in to the
onset of winter with their big shaggy heads, firm stems and dark strong
leaves, yet often when they have given up, one small daisy appears,
sometimes even with pink tingeing their tiny petals, as if in complete
defiance of the frost.

 YESTERDAY’S DREAMS

This garden is in retreat,
Dark red dahlias heralding the end.
Yesterday’s dreams already lying down
With their heads on the pillow. 

A hard frost killed the pale roses.

But this garden acknowledges no retreat,
Defiantly flowering one final daisy.
Today’s dreams already on their toes,
Waiting to get a move on. 

                        ©2019 Gwen Grant

HOPE IN TRAINING

After weeks of being unwell, I was cheered by the sight of the
rhododendrons full of tight buds, reminding me that, although
it was a long way away, Spring would come
, the buds would open
and their glorious flowers would shine out. Warmth
and colour would be in the world again.

HOPE IN TRAINING

Those tight little buds are waiting
For next Spring.


There’s no sign of hurry,
No hint of impatience.


In fact, just looking at them
Reveals an alternative world


To the one we live in.

©2021 Gwen Grant

KEEP AWAY FROM THE WATER

KEEP AWAY FROM THE WATER

There is no scent of roses here
As there was in that quiet Cathedral.
No flowers at all.
Only the drunks hiccuping home, singing,
Keeping well away from the grey and hungry water
Hissing right up to the sea wall,
All frosted and glittering.

Bitter sleet whipping their cold faces,
Whitening their hair,
Whitening the streets around them,
As if spitefully denying any hope
Of warmth and peace to come.

For these men and women staggering
Down the frozen pavements,
Are reluctant to go home.
Reluctant to leave the world behind them.
Boozily loving each other,
Wanting to sing as loud as they can.

Singing without thinking,
Knowing the words of songs learnt in childhood,
Knowing that drunk or sober,
Life is for the living.

Just keep away from the water.

©2021 Gwen Grant