Four Poems|John Grey


Morning is a sparrow
perched on a rooftop,
trilling short sweet notes.
Or a blue jay circling,
hacking like an old man
clearing his throat.

It’s not me.
It’s not my yawns.
It’s not my knuckles
rubbing their way
into my eye sockets.

Morning is always
beyond the window.
It’s a flower
nudged by the sun
to open its petals.
It’s the wind
getting things moving.
It’s the trees,
lush or budding
or shedding or skeletal,
playing their part
in the time of the year.

I could fall back asleep
but the morning can’t.
I could curse my life
but the morning won’t.

Morning shrugs off the night,
breathes the deep air,
kicks off the shackles,
is up and on with it.
I do the same
but coincidentally.



Thankfully, the sun has no problem

being an extension of myself.

The room has opened up a little

to its patrician yellow eye,

so why not my body,

why not my needs.


I appreciate that it doesn’t

poke me in the chest,

merely springs me from shadow,

nudges the curtain off my face,

offers better viewing for those concerned.


It’s okay, light tells them.

Their hold on my lingers loosens.

It’s touch now. No longer grip.


I remember my friend Elsa

when she went through cold turkey.

She imagined herself

half Sleeping Beauty,

half Wicked Witch,

done in by poisoned apple,

woken by a heart-felt kiss.

I was more dimness

cruising for shine.


And now my body is limp, baby-like.

My head feels like a day-after battlefield,

posing for the pictures of war correspondents.

Thankfully my mouth can adjust to the situation,

convince my lips that a smile is in order.

The doctor says I’ll be going home any day now.

Another endless dark

gets the small candle it’s been asking for.



White dust falls from gray,

late sunless afternoon,

to the muffled sound of neighbors

and the silence of the house.


A book is open at a forgotten page.

Mantel photos stare at wallpaper.

The hearth is a tomb of ashes.


All this with flowers dead,

the chill here to stay,

the music muted,

the light disinterested,

the horizon

somewhere just beyond

the rusty gate.


No one to talk to.

No one to listen to.

Sit by the window.

Stay in, stare out.

Does a snowflake have a soul?

I wouldn’t think so.



Gray clouds sink low enough

to obscure the distant hills.

Snow is drifting and falling.

Outside my window,

the boughs of the maple

play catch with flakes.

A solitary sparrow

perches on a bare limb.

Despite the weather,

it still has something to sing about.

Maybe it’s never known a spring.

And the previous lush summer

is in storage some place,

far removed from memory.

To the bird, there only is now.

As suppositions go,

it’s a tuneful one.


Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash


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





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