To Creation. and 2 more poems by John Grey

John Grey


Creation gave us the eagle and the snake.
From myths, celestial waters mingling with
	the oceans of the Earth.
Evaporation happens between worlds,
leaves the flowers stiffened and the clouds drooping.
Some drops stay behind in tiny rock-bound wells.

The eagle can take wing and quickly disappear.
The snake slithers beneath heaps of stones.
Ascent is answered by descent.
Moss-pocked trees provide shelter from sun-fire.
Fields flutter like green handkerchiefs.
Wind is a scented gift.
The grass plays like children.

The eagle’s head is as proud
	as a mountain’s jaw.
The snake’s skin is an ancient hieroglyphic.
Life sprouts unalike in different places.
Used tenderly, nature is a mother’s lap.
Even graves grow beards. 


I purchase the newspaper.
The others in line 
buy scratch tickets,
play their favorite numbers.
I’m willing to give my life 
a rest for a while,
delve into page after page 
of how badly others have it.
But my queue-mates
are caught up in the idea of luck,
usually bad, but just a chance,
maybe, who knows,
that good will come of it.
Try telling that to the victims
of a Bangladesh tsunami.
Or a gangland shooting 
in our own fair city.

These men, these women,
figure they’ve dreamed enough,
it’s time to take their chances.
They hand over the money,
then stash imagined millions 
in their pocket,
or take out a coin, rub away,
unveil fate.
Sure they’re disappointed
when ping-pong balls
disobey their clenched-fist prayers
or the symbols don’t line up.
But hope’s a cruel master.
Next day, the day after that,
we’re back in the same line.
I purchase another round
of someone else’s problems.
They dig into wallets, purses,
intensify their own.


I was witness to,
on the steps of the courthouse, 
contradictory compulsions
operating publicly and passionately
at full speed.

There, in the shadow of a Gothic edifice
of logic and reason,  
a couple indulged 
in a fervent, ardent,
hug and kiss.

It may have been impromptu to them
but, to we unwitting subjective onlookers,
it was an action totally at odds
with those judicious surrounds.

The things is
you just can’t succumb 
to over-agitated hormones
in sight of three lawyers,
a judge, a US marshal, two taxi drivers, 
and a passing school bus.
An overwhelming sense of decorum
applies every day
to where everybody is.  
Your emotions have a responsibility
to the rest of us.

Besides, who knows what effect
a stranger’s happiness 
can have on an unwitting onlooker.
I might be recently widowed.
That well-dressed woman could 
be the one hard-done-by in a breakup.
So, if you’re going to be shameless, 
please choose surrounds more amicable
Or try a little self-consciousness.
That way no one will know you’re there.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review.

Return to Journal

WordCity Literary Journal is provided free to readers from all around the world, and there is no cost to writers submitting their work. Substantial time and expertise goes into each issue, and if you would like to contribute to those efforts, and the costs associated with maintaining this site, we thank you for your support.


Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: