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
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
We travelled down this road in northern Scotland late one evening and it was so wreathed in a heavy grey mist that when the road dipped down, we couldn’t even see the hedgerows. As we moved higher, however, the mist thinned out enough so that it looked like long folds of silk blowing across the fields. Then the moon appeared and the sky and the road looked just like this.
NIGHT ON A COUNTRY ROAD
There were six angels playing in the sky tonight,
Tossing stars to each other with easy grace,
Their long grey skirts whirling
Over the country road beneath them.
All was still.
All was silent.
All beauty just a memory,
Until steady beams of light
Came shining down the darkness,
Startling the flowers into sudden radiance,
Chasing the twisty grey smokiness
Over the hedgerows,
As the lovely, familiar sound of a tractor
Came rolling through the air.
Then the whisper of grass
As a rabbit tracked through it,
The long, long sigh of an owl’s wings
And the hoarse, sweet sound of the tractor,
Rose up as a prayer.
© 2018 Gwen Grant