Silent fields, and a bitter night,
And us, trying to keep warm
Under a frozen sky.
The air so cold, a tap
Would shatter it into shards of darkness
To fall around our feet,
And in that star-lit, owl frozen silence,
The hushed dark call carried thinly
Across the still and sleeping fields.
We, so quiet, the red-gold shadow
Of a fox padded by us
All unaware of our waiting,
Its paw pressing the frosted grass
Into dark and hungry prints
Along the path.
Then the silence was broken
By the soft whisper of wind
Drifting snowflakes down the feathered sky,
To quilt the winter ground,
And, somewhere, in that bitter icy world
Someone offered a word of hope.
As long as hope is in the world, then,
We, cold and frozen in our waiting,
Can warm ourselves at the fire of love.
© 2018 Gwen Grant
I just got so exasperated with the poem I was planning to write. I could see
it in my mind’s eye. I could even hear it but I just could not write it. We
were planning a trip to Scotland at the time and I thought maybe that
was where my poem had gone, on the train before ours. So the poem
that got away was probably perfect! Leaving me with this one.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
The last time I saw that poem
It was getting on a train
For the far north.
It likes it up there,
Crunching about in the ice and snow,
Climbing up small mountains,
Picking up the odd abandoned word
Or lovely phrase
Lying amongst the grey stones and heather.
By nightfall, it’ll be in its room, changing,
Emptying its pockets onto the bed,
Choosing a word to sparkle here,
A phrase to quietly glow there,
Getting set for a night of changing partners.
Until all scrubbed up, brushed down
And wildly excited,
It’s finally ready to dance.
Any time now,
I expect that poem to come home.
© 2019 Gwen Grant
Although when I was a girl, we lived in a very small house at the furthest
reaches of the town, most of our life was lived outside. Tractors were very
much a part of this life and I loved them. They trundle beautifully about
our streets and whenever I see one, I always have an almost irresistible urge
to go out and pat it.
TO A TRACTOR
A red tractor so lovely,
My hand stroked
Its scarlet glory.
The strawed ground,
Its great wheels
Dignified in every
Pleat and perfection.
An inspired creation.
A glorious construction.
Which, one day, I hope,
Will carry me home.
©2023 Gwen Grant
Stanley Price and his Mam
Boarded an aeroplane
To fly to Canada.
We all wished
We could have gone with them.
But Stanley said
There was only room
For one more and that was him.
Anyway, he went on, knowing us lot,
One by one, we’d all get eaten by bears
Five minutes after landing.
Couldn’t chance it, Stanley said,
Shaking his new Canadian head.
Whilst we drifted away,
Ribbons of love and living
Tying us together
For practically ever.
Even though none of us ever saw
Stanley Price and his Mam again.
©2022 Gwen Grant
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
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE