Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Camphor’ and other poems

By: John Grey


You’re out of time and place,
having so many silent letters in your name,
and drawn to the jukebox
in the dusty window of the antique score,
while in the books you read,
you stand up for the misfits
and prefer to strum a dulcimer
than pluck a friend’s guitar.
You’re a one-woman underground movement.
Does this make you feel good?
It should.



The camphor tree,
for all its glossy leaves,
clusters of black berries,
smatterings of white flowers,
still smells like my closet.

Something is singing sweetly
from its upper branches.
Don’t know what it is.
But no way it’s a moth,
I figure.



The breeze still rushes around the park
where I sit silently on a bench beneath clear sky,
leaving space enough beside me for your presence.

And though that breeze
picks up stray paper along the way,
ruffles the pigeon’s feathers,
knocks a frisbee from its path,
it can’t move my body,
or open my thoughts to anything
but the usual regret.

Though I’m doing my best to look tragic,
damn wind ruffles my hair a little.



then pastel
then brown and crinkly
then drifting down,
filling up the trails
with death.

We optimists
imagine this



Night makes itself felt
in the darkening bay,
mingles with
dinner cruise lights,
the flap of pelican pouches,

sets off an interior
of pastel colors
and tropical décor,
and the change in you,

a face of sorrows calmly accepted,
a smile of fair warning
to any more grief to come.



Spring current’s
running so brash,
so wide and so fast,
downhill, over rocks,
as an endless gush
beneath this bridge,
sets off explosions of spray
that slap against my face,
cooks up a breeze,
that is soon a wild wind,
that almost knocks me over,
drags me under.
Nature’s at its most furious.
Even the air is a river.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review.


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