Two Poems

An Early Insight Into the Threat I Posed


My first time out of the city,
on a drive to see my Emerald cousins,
I’m in the back seat
waiting for my nature books to come to life.
Didn’t start off well of course.
Suburbs thinned, farms took over,
as expected. And then, as we
took to the inland highway,
human habitation gave sway to sparse trees,
scrub, occasional creeks, and road kill.

So the glossy pages of my
well-thumbed animal encyclopedia
came to death: splattered wallabies,
possums, a large gray kangaroo,
its tail still thumping the life away
in a ditch at the side of the road.
I could see the smoke from the
culprit, far in the distance,
a huge lorry, taking unwitting
aim at whatever was foolish enough
to cross its path, namely
any marsupial without the smarts
to avoid the onslaught of
human traffic … which is every marsupial.

It seemed forever before I saw
my first living creature, another kangaroo,
this one bounding off into the distance.
I longed for it to come closer.
And yet I prayed that it stay away.
I wanted to embrace it,
name its species, observe up
close, its hare-like head,
those springy back legs,
somehow keep it safe.
But there was another truck
barreling up behind us.
The evidence was plain to me.
No good could come of my goodness.


Time Out


It’s a day to ease off, make more
use of these woody surrounds,

and the light that’s not bulbs or headlamps,
and the creatures that aren’t bugging me for money.

Just whatever it is that is comfortable outside humanity,
that grows and changes and dies and is reborn

beyond the houses, the macadam, the Main Streets.
I need to spend time with glimpses, touch,

smells, sounds near and distant,
fallen logs, orange fungus frills,

leafy paths, butterfly meadows, croaking ponds,
creeping vines and webs across the trail.

“Slow down” is my catch-cry. Exquisite is my find.
Here, between the pebbles. Something sprouting.

Or is it merely hanging out?

About John Grey

John Grey is an Australian-born short story writer, poet, playwright, musician, and Providence, RI resident. He has been published in numerous magazines including Weird Tales, Christian Science Monitor, Poetry East, Poem, Agni, Poet Lore, and Journal Of The American Medical Association. The Winner of Rhysling Award for short genre poetry in 1999, John has had plays produced in Los Angeles and off-off Broadway in New York.

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