Two Poems

by John Grey
 

Dirge

There is no organ, merely the sound of it in my head.
And whoever’s playing never strays from the low notes.
Dirige, Domine, Deus meus, in conspectus tuo viam meam.
My thoughts forgo translation. There’s no need.

The world resembles a funeral home.
The curtains are white, not deep purple,
but the lack of human footprint is the same in both cases.
It’s not as if I’m mourning. I’ve become mourning itself.

Feel free to use me if your sorrows aren’t cavernous enough.
Yes, it’s winter, but my insides rolled out the season months ago.
They took the phone calls. They read the newspapers.
They attended the bedsides. They stood out in cemetery rain.

My expression was brave throughout
but my feelings finetuned to the darkest timbre.
No, there is no organ. My body can’t contain such an instrument.
But pedalboards pump somber wind. Senses respond in kind.

I am a font of music downcast but not downplayed.
Living among people demands I give it my attention.
And there is only one way this song will ever stop.
To Brig O’Dread thou comst at last.
 
 

An Egret in Winter

For the hungry
it all comes down to
proven strategy,
breaking open the ice
as its most fragile,
burrowing in chilled water
for enough sustenance
so the pattern
can be repeated.

The weather
is a prison
but there’s ways
of feeling less trapped.
The tiny fish
still skirt the edges
of their demise.
A sharp beak
makes for a better weapon
than a spoonbill.

The egret grabs a morsel,
gulps it with
a neck jerk
like a cracking whip.
There must be more to come.
A bird must survive the season
if this kill is to be believed.
 
 
Photo credit

About John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet and a US resident. He is recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review, and Big Muddy Review and has work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review.

John Grey

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