The poetry of John Grey

The Piazza in December

The piazza is calm
under low December sun,
the warm winter feel on our skin
like silk.

The air is fair enough
to sit outdoors,
sip espressos
to the whipping sound
of pigeon wings
and light tread of a cyclist.

We contemplate the fountain’s flow,
wonder where the water’s from,
where it goes to.
A flock of bishops hurry by,
blessing the rising temperature
under their breath.

It’s morning
but we long to doze,
as if such scenery
is better left to the subconscious
to evaluate, enjoy.
But the espresso says otherwise,
keeps the eyes wide.

The people are slowly drifting in.
There’s not enough to make a crowd as yet.
The pushcarts follow,
flowers first, foodstuffs later.

We could sit here all day,
enjoy the evolution
from light to dark,
from coffee cups to wine glasses.

No more kings in this country
but it feels a little like a coronation.
The church spires are already crowned.
The sun is coming for the rest of us.

 

 

 

Inner City on a Summer’s Afternoon

The intellectual is at a loss here.
So is the theorist.
Everything occurs naturally
and in abundance.
A preconceived notion
has no feeling for the streets.
Sure it may arouse in them
a sensitivity
for the tensions
but what about the joy?
No, in the inner city,
a general feeling won’t do.
Juxtapositions
will soil themselves
as sudden anger is, time after time,
taken down by grace.
Yes, these people are poor.
And so many take to the streets,
especially the children.
For tenements are cramped,
ovens in hot weather.
And someone opens a fire hydrant.
How strange.
And kids dance
in the stream of water.
How humorous.
A young woman
passing by
tries to avoid the splash
but her eyes are wet,
her cheeks are dripping
and she smiles wide as sunrise.
How beautiful.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Poetry East and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Harpur Palate, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.

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