John Grey





Wind did not invent this hill.

It was surely the organizational power

of the earth surrounding it;

the good old grass foundation,

a society of trees on a camping trip to stars.

Nothing changes its mind here.

When a slope is called for,

the angle immediately obliges.

When a view is required,

the scenery opens up on orders

from the rocks, the brush,

the valley that wouldn’t be a valley otherwise.

Landscape is no shock to its own system.

It plans to veer off the straight and narrow,

appears where it must.

Feel the wind, angry that the job is done without it.

The blustering in my shirt is much too late.

Even I am impervious to the carving properties of air,

the shaping hands of movement.

I arrive at the crest

because that’s what the crest wants for me.

I look down

so the world can look up.




Such a grim lot were my teachers,

not a smile among the lot of them.

Surly looks went with trying to

beat into tiny heads the mysteries

of mathematics apparently.

History wasn’t history unless

a mouth as crooked as a snake

doled out its names and dates.


And their clothes were patterned

after their looks.

Surly gray suits on the men,

long gray dresses on the women.

Male or female, stiff white collars

cramped the neck

And for every male prickle-cut,

a mouse-brown bun

sat dourly atop unlovely female heads.


It was more than surliness.

They wore the dour expressions of bloodless martyrs.


I think they hated life more than anything,

hour after hour, week after week,

passing on to others what did them little good.





Light is no excuse

despite what it does to shadow.


Dreams hide in the back of his head

but he’s still not done


lying there and thinking.

And the noises of the day


aren’t his noises

so why should he add to them.


He’s no garbage collector.

He’s no cop.


He has a son and daughter to remember,

and a woman, and a time.


Light shines grandly through the window

like it’s a worthy substitute.


But a man can close his eyes.

The light would never occur to him.



Copyright © John Grey 2013


John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in International Poetry Review, Chrysalis and the science fiction anthology, “Futuredaze” with work upcoming in Potomac Review, Sanskrit and Fox Cry Review.