That plump little woman standing in the doorway
Was, to all intents and purposes, simply opening up the shop.

But those who knew, those who watched
From the lace covered corners of an innocent window,
Knew she was waiting for her lover, her creamy cheeks
A sudden flush of pink as he came striding,
Strong, imposing and beautiful, smiling at her.
Someone else’s lover, yes, but longing to take her,
And she, longing to be taken.

The early morning street was silent, the brick and stone,
The wood and shining glass of the great Bank behind him
Waiting for him to return one minute to opening time.

Only the sudden scream of brakes of a lorry labouring past them
Disturbed the peace, echoing the scream of her own heart
As he stepped out of the shop doorway, one minute to nine.

Going back. Returning. Returning to where he would always come from,
That place where she didn’t exist. So, here she was then, the hidden widow.

©2022 Gwen Grant



I love the sea, so I have always been very fond of this Norse myth
of red monkeys under the ocean feeding iron bars to the serpent.  They
did this because when the world was made it was too heavy, so the serpent
was given the task of coiling around it to keep it together.  However, the
serpent would get hungry so the red monkeys were given the chore of
feeding it iron bars to stop it uncoiling in search of food, as that would
have been disastrous!


Little boat
On the horizon
Sailing away to nowhere

Rough winds
Send you skirling
Across impatient waters

Fiery suns
Smash colour rainbows
Into the roaring silence

Darkening skies
Threaten spiteful rain
To savage and to sink you

Under the ocean
Red monkeys feed iron bars
To the world’s serpent

Respect the serpent
Whose coils save the world
From abrupt and violent ending

Little boat, come home
Steer quietly into safe harbour
Where I am always waiting

To sail away to nowhere.

                          © 2018 Gwen Grant



Someone has laid out
These gravestones
In a pattern
Of long straight rows.
Edging them
With the beauty
Of green and living grass.

When it rains,
The marble stones gleam,
Speaking of life.
While the little bright flowers
Garlanding this place
Of rest and restoration,
Bring a wide hope
To those who walk
Among them.

The small grey church,
The stone angel
With its handful of stone leaf and flower
Are at home here,
In this place
Of fine shadow and memory.

Where the sunny air quivers
With the presence of Love.

©2022 Gwen Grant.


falling stars

When I was a girl, I was sent away to Kent, to a kind of hospital
school to make me better.  I was only there a year yet that year has given
me memories for a lifetime, good and bad.  The Kentish woods helped me
settle because they formed a link to my much loved woods of home. 


I walked the spine of morning
Whilst the birds slept.
Their little feathered bodies
Absorbing the melody of leaves,
The quiet breathing of grass,
Waking to the delicate sounds of light changing,
Their tiny anthems gathering strength
Enough to fill the woods with song.
Drowning these cool Kentish pathways
With joy and praise.

Where, last night, a falling star
Tumbled through the trembling leaves
Shoring up this world’s quiet beauty.

I saw it fall.
The little wren and the robin at my shoulder,
The nightingale singing into the morning light.
Our eyes clinging to the long radiance
Of Jupiter and Mars shining briefly
Onto that star ridden path.

Setting that quiet Kentish wood ablaze
With the glory of falling stars,
Of little birds singing.

                                 © 2020 Gwen Grant

PRIVATE KEEP OUT!  by Gwen Grant
published by Penguin Vintage  Children’s Classics
available in paperback and as ebook


pud 2


Mario Lanza began to sing
And from a far corner of the crowded room,
Another Mario joined in.
Another and another,
Until the whole place rang
With song and laughter.

Then, in his far corner, Elvis stood,
Quietly singing of love and loss,
Singing of a real reality
Until, one by one, they all fell silent.
Even the drunks hushed their slurred words,
Listening to a song of loss and loneliness
So intense, life meant nothing.

The Bar was silent, breathless with memory
As Elvis sang, and when he was done,
Mario began again.
And beer was passed from Bar to drinker.
Someone ordered a cheeky Campari,
With bright red cherry and a paper umbrella.
Whoa!  Hold the soda.

Night pressed against the Pub’s lit windows,
But no-one wanted to go,
To be swallowed by the darkness,
Wanted only to stay here in the mad brightness,
Listening to the singing,
Listening to the daft loons laughter,
Gulping Lager in the corner
And watch the girls swinging
On the tiny, tiny dance floor.
Dancing as if dancing could conquer
The songs they were hearing.
As if being young could conquer everything.

Strange to meet Mario and Elvis here,
Two bony young fellows singing to the drunk and to the sober,
Singing to drown or lighten the drinker’s sorrows.               

                                                     © 2019 Gwen Grant