Two Poems|John Grey



How did I reach the wall?

One day I’m living

in this small shack in the jungle.

The next, the battle between


soldiers and rebels razes

a nearby village. I know

there’ll be no justice done.

So, I head north with a purpose.


May I come into your country?

We can discuss the terms on

which I work on your farm.

I don’t ask for much.


Just food and a roof over my head.

Surely you have a love

for all men. Let your kindness

to all linger in one of them.





Dark trees bend toward

each other’s reaching limbs,

so that the trail beneath

is like the aisle of church

with distant moonlight

as its pale yellow altar.

No stations of the cross though,

merely a hooting barn owl in the eaves

and field-mice darting in and out

of thick-brush pews.

With each step, I wonder

if I’m about to witness

a modern day rewrite

of Eliot’s Murder In The Cathedral.

But the owl, disturbed by my presence,

lifts off in one smooth motion,

flies in search of more secular fare

and the rodents, mistaking me for a predator,

scurry back into their holes.

As always, my presence in a church

disrupts the natural order.

No, the ceiling doesn’t collapse.

But wind picks up,

rustles the makeshift rooftop.

And don’t think I don’t notice.


Photo by Chris Boese on Unsplash


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review

and Connecticut River Review with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple and the MacGuffin.

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