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                        

NIGHT HOURS

moonlight on trees

  NIGHT HOURS

Closing on midnight,
With the great starry fields
Lying still and quiet in front of me,
Moonlight falling like water
On the silent trees, the dark furrows,
The creaking ice puddles shining,
Holding stars in their frozen silver,
I see the first ghosts
Of those I have known
Drift across the white horizon,
Mist folding them into sparkling shadows
Slipping through my fingers
When I reach out to touch them,
Take them home.

They don’t go far but wait for me,
Blowing the years in front of them,
Opening this corner and that
To let me see again,
All those I have loved.
All those I love still.

Until the snow finally hides them
And I turn for home,
The trees shivering in sympathy,
Anointing my lonely head
With cold tears of their own.

                          ©2020 Gwen Grant

  THE LION MAN

lion man

       THE LION MAN

This lion man
Is so beautiful
It makes my heart
Tremble.

For in its
Wrecked and lovely
Countenance,
I see
The endurance
Of all
Born from darkness
Into this greater darkness,
Where every soul realizes
Its aloneness.
Its bitter,
Bleak,
Irredeemable
Loneliness.

Yet lovers must love,
Words fall
From loving lips.
Hands touch
Souls
Courageous
In their enduring,
Gentle
In their laughter,
Resolute
In their bold living.

Only compassion
Can bring
Light
To that darkness.
Only hope
Inhabit those frozen
Wastes
Of aloneness.
Only love
Create the Lion man
In us all.

                      © 2019 Gwen Grant

FETCHING THE WATER


FETCHING THE WATER

My mother used to walk around
 that sullen pond,
Ringed with bushes of vermilion flowers,
Sour nettles and wicked brambles
That would reach out to snag her, rip
  her flinching skin.

Frightened, she would hurry past,
Carrying clean pails to fetch clear water
From the chapel pump,
So they could have a cup of tea,
Get the day started.

While the pond turned darkly over,
Long toad tongues snapping their
  breakfast
Out of the ghost ridden air.

                    © 2020 Gwen Grant

LIVE THE MOMENT

When I was a child, there was an Apothecary’s shop in our town.
Walking in there was walking into a different world and I was
always surprised to come out and find the ordinary, familiar street
waiting just where I had left it. 

        LIVE THE MOMENT

So much of yesterday has gone into today
That even as dawn lifts the darkness
We are left behind, caught in the past,
Half looking for a way out,
Half longing to stay where we are.

Memories, brightened with a spit and polish
To smarten them up,
Clear away time’s dust that we may see them fully.
As if we ever could.

Our minds are apothecary’s chests,
Full of deep drawers marked in neat Latin print,
Happiness.  Joy.  Regret.  Grief.  Sorrow.
Where in the deepest drawer of all,
The one that runs right along the top,
Is love, that let’s yesterday fade away
And today take over.

                           ©2020 Gwen Grant.

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