Literary Yard

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‘I’ll head home soon but not yet’ and other poems by John Grey

By: John Grey


Near dusk,
shadows roll across the lake,
but I refuse to give my body
back to bone and muscle,
not now when I float amid sun-sparkles,
ripple the waters with my fingers,
almost trap tiny slithering fish
in between my toes.

Weight and gravity
can bide their time.
I won’t give way.
Not with the day’s heat
slowly going over to the liquid side,
cooling like an angel’s touch,
spreading and muting
as I gently kick,
breathe smooth as if my lungs
are gills.

In the last throes of light,
the exhilarating is extended,
the ordinary delayed.



In two hours,
the tree that nudged my bedroom window,
rained debris on my yard
and my neighbor’s
for more years than I have memory,
was totally gone.

It had been dying forever.
Today, it was brutally euthanized
by strangers with chainsaws.
No more sporadic budding.
No more sparse leafage.
Just a little extra sun coming my way
in the late afternoon
and three additional fence palings
added to the view
from the parlor window.

It had no living will,
just a quasi-legal guardian.
I signed off on the execution.
My pen really did shake.

I have to thank those men
for doing the job quickly and efficiently,
for bundling up the body
and hauling it away.

Now, there’s just a stump
and roots that dig into the earth
searching for water and minerals.
It’s a cadaveric spasm.
Not a tree.



Hell is not fire, merely the stifling of light.
It watches for sunset, then moves in sublime.

There is no refuge in shadow,
nor the fading remnants of light.

And hell is not the flame pits of the afterlife
but an enveloping snare in this one.

It’s a beast that’s let loose by the darkness.
It’s the dread that keeps coming back for more.



I know more.
I’m even slightly sophisticated.
Above average.
Been places, seen things,
ordered from menus
in languages other than English.
I’ve had adventures.
Been extraordinarily happy
with people whose skin
is a different color.
So here I am.
Back again.
The way you hug me
makes me feel like a gift.
Maybe I am.
A present from various parts
of Asia, Europe,
even a little darkest Africa,
though I assure you,
if you ever go there,
you’ll find it’s really
not so dark.
I don’t expect you to be
all that impressed with me.
But, over time,
you’ll sense the change.
I have so much more
of the world in me.
So come,
get up close to my journey.
You can feel like
you went part of the way.



Now in your New Hampshire
of white-capped mountains
and snow-catchment lakes,
you lean over the edge of your patio,
look out at deer
who nibble by forest’s edge,
and bobolinks
that fly close enough to grasslands
to glean the insects from their tips,
your eyes attuned to anything really,
as long as there is light involved,
powder-puffing a squirrel cheek here,
flaming a thick brush there.
The wildflowers are opening.
Songbirds trill their matins.
Your morning can’t begin
unless it is one of many mornings.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon.

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