Poetry Drawer: Composting: Early November: An Aah Poem: Taxi: Lake Harmony, May 2020: Camping, the Safety in our Numbers by John Grey


Earth’s been composting for centuries.
Ted just hastens it a little.
That wire-mesh bin is at the heart of it,
five-sides and shiny wire,
cut and assembled it himself.
Twigs and roots, grass and rotting fruit –
he stirs it together like making broth.
Sure the smell is fierce
but he’s the kind of man who’s invigorated
by foul odours.
His nose connects them to plump red tomatoes,
golden turnips, melons fat as pregnant sows.
Indeed, the stench is a bridge
from his nostrils to the kitchen table,
from sweaty brow, strained hands,
to the McCreedys gathered together
for a delectable Sunday dinner.
So earnestly, he hurries nature along.
All for growing family in its own good time.

Early November

My breath-smoke greets yellow leaf
with silent echo, invisible ripple,
just this whisper made mist
in clusters of cold.

Keep moving through pallid light,
wild-honey froze tree trunks,
by cold metal fences,
blood and air, a crisp, wary mix.

There, in the distance,
the sniff of a chimney,
the pucker of faces
through window’s frail shine.

The onset of hearth,
the dusk hoops of flame,.
the flight of ash, the hug of fire,
and a house thawed of indifference.

An Aah Poem

Stream constant
in its flow,
its sounds,
no wonder I fall asleep
on the banks.

My nature incursion
pauses in a patch of soft grass.
And I don’t breathe as much
as swallow a long draught of air.

There’s a tear
in the clouds, the treetops.
Sun shines through inexorably.


Taxis ignore me
on a dismal, rainy night.
No matter how far I stretch my arm,
the cabs speed by,
blurs of yellow indifference.
Snug in the back seat,
warmed by engine air,
that’s all I ask.
A short trip to my apartment.
five miles at most,
that’s all I need.
And I’m even willing to pay.
Look at my face,
dribbling with water.
my shirt, drenched
to the chilled skin.
Doesn’t that say big tip to you
in every language.
Finally, a taxi does stop,
a miracle.
but a woman appears out of nowhere.
pushes me aside
with a brusque “Excuse me. sir,
but I’m in a hurry.”
More rain, more soaking.
Patience will be lucky
if it doesn’t catch pneumonia.
Only a rush, a dash, keep dry.

Lake Harmony, May 2020

Daylight mops up after rain,
puddles ripple faces of drinking sparrows,
grass glitters, trees glow like glass,
new growth, flush with moisture,
welcomes sunshine into its fecund mixture,
the afternoon rolls out like a towel
drying its way into coming darkness,
where the moon waits behind Earth’s curve
ready to launch the night.

Camping, the Safety in our Numbers

They’re out there somewhere,
bears, wolves, maybe even a cougar.

The fire is dwindling down
so the cold also joins the pack.

But we have the tent, the bed rolls,
and the body heat that moves between us.

Protection comes down to your kiss,
my hug, your hair spilled on my shoulder.

A coyote howls. A great horned owl hoots.
You’d think they’d learn.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and the Round Table. Latest books, Leaves On Pages and Memory Outside The Head are available through Amazon.

You can find more of John’s work here on Ink Pantry.

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