This morning the skies were leaden and cold,
Now suddenly the sun spills forth cascades of gold.
This morning the air held a dark threat of rain,
Now suddenly it sparkles like vintage champagne.
This morning the earth was a dreary old place,
Now suddenly it spins, a crown jewel in space.
This morning life was a burden to bear,
Now suddenly life’s an adventure to share.
What magic was this that made everything new?
Our eyes met and lingered but a moment or two,
And suddenly I discovered the wonder of you.
The Lonely Crowd
The frantic tempo of the city closes in on every side
Down the steps, through the turnstile on the morning subway ride.
The crowd surges forward on the platform at a pace
That allows no hesitation, and surely leaves no place
For courtesies like “After you” and “May I help you on?”
The doors snap shut behind me and the rat race has begun.
The fellow at my elbow I’ve seen many times before
But when he exits down the line I won’t know any more
About him than I do now as we ride this speeding car.
And if I turned to him and asked “Please, tell me who you are”
“Tell me where you come from, and tell me where you’re going”
He’d think me quite impertinent, most certainly annoying.
For through this urban jungle there runs an unseen line
I must not trespass on his side, nor he trespass on mine.
Into that world inside his head I would not dare intrude
To start a conversation might seem gauche, to question, rude.
Yet, countless miles we’ve travelled side-by-side, and it’s absurd
We share the very air we breathe, yet utter not a word.
The doors swing out and I am swept up in a tidal surge
Of bodies rushing toward the street above, where we all merge
Into a shoving, jostling mass indifferent to each other.
Hell-bent on where we’re going, do we ever wonder whether
A broken heart lies hidden beneath the public face
Of that fellow at our elbow as we run this crazy race.
We raise up our defenses, and carefully we shroud
Our longing to reach out and touch–we are the lonely crowd.
Keeping Up Appearances
The cleaning lady is coming today
She arrives in an hour or less.
Don’t stand there Henry! Take out the garbage
And help me to clean up this mess.
Last night’s dishes are still in the sink
I will wash them if you will dry.
Then throw out the beer cans and cigarette butts
And while you are doing that I
Will dispose of the stack on the table
That is leaning precariously—
Last week’s newspapers, yesterday’s bills
Catalogs and assorted debris.
Please vacuum the chair that is covered with hair
That Kitty and Rover have shed,
Then I’ll get the cat off the counter
And you get the dog off the bed.
Have I covered all of the bases?
Let me pause for a moment to think,
Mmm—I’d better get rid of the ring in the tub
And the hair in the bathroom sink.
Plump the pillows and pull up the bedspread
Pick up the clothes on the floor
Toss your socks in the washing machi—
Ah! The lady arrives at the door.
Thank heaven we made it, and just in time
For if she were ever to learn
The way we really live around here
I’m afraid she would never return.
Sun and shadow in the water oaks, green lace against the sky.
A vagrant gypsy breeze glides through, her voice a rustling sigh.
Life teems in every blade of grass and vine and bud—and I
Sit numb amid this beauty and wish that I might die.
Too long the winter lingered on, too harsh the icy blast
Obliterating memories of springs and summers past.
Too sharp the sting of driven sleet, too deep the crusted snow,
Too far the frozen earth reached down to dormant roots below.
The hardy ones survived the test and rose to meet the sun,
The fragile felt Death’s frigid grip before life’s course had run.
The withered heart is lost to joy, the laughter slowly dies
The colors fade, the light grows dim before my knowing eyes.
Heloise Grant is a retired librarian. She is an avid reader and member of two book clubs. Several of her poems have been published in The Lyric poetry journal. When she is not reading or writing, her other interests include sketching and painting.
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