The green grass grew all around

This is a poem I’m very pleased with. I don’t know whether it’s a good poem or an indifferent one, better or worse than any others I’ve written, but the sound of it gives me a little thrill of pleasure.

Here’s a bit of music to listen to while you’re reading it.

©Tony Alter
©Tony Alter

There once was a wood and a meadow, she said,
The woman who lives on the hill.
The sound of the birds was the only sound
And the green grass grew all around.
The wood went down to the river, she said,
Where kingcups covered the ground,
Where the heron stood in the sedge, she said,
And the green grass grew all around.
They’re gone, the birds from the meadow, she said
And the fox from his woodland hall.
They built houses over his earth, she said,
Where the green grass grew so tall.
But there’s a place I’ll show you, she said,
A place where nobody goes.
The old wharf’s forgot now the ships don’t come
And only the green grass grows.
Keep quiet your secret place, I said,
Keep it so nobody knows
That there’s still a place in this busy town
Where only the green grass grows.

She mourns the death of love



As morning glory creeps across the blasted tree

and bright flowers hide the ravages of rot,

as autumn vines drape cold tumbled stones

warming dead ruins with cascades of fire

and red poppies carpet the fields of muddy death

time will weave a heart of sorts

to replace the one I gave to you.


But though the passing weeks and months and years

will heal the wound and fill the empty space

with some sweet froth of trivia

that leaves no lingering taste upon the tongue

no pain, no deep-carved emotion in the gut

nothing will ever be the same again.


The world, my heart, the poppy-covered mud

all are changed utterly

and I mourn the stillbirth

of the beauty that could have been.