Two Poems by John Grey

The Fog

The fog resists my attempt
to grab a fistful of its grayness.
For in the game of fog,
nothing is ever caught.

It moves ahead of me at slow speed,
a seamless canter,
then slips sideways,
as though a breeze shifted course,
and desperate regathering
was needed to keep the fog whole.

After that,
its fear seems to disappear a little.
Fog stalls
even as I draw close.
Birds fly in and out.
It moistens the tips of leaves.

But then, as I step forward,
it slips back into the game,
teases by completely surrounding me.
My grasp embraces all of it
but my reach has nothing to show.

Then slowly it dies in the heat and light.
At the jetty’s edge,
I’m chief mourner,
a fitting funeral
for one I never knew.

In the Flood

You never know with water.
The ocean’s not enough for it.
It has to spread across the land,
courtesy of torrential rains,
hurricane winds.
Even the rivers can get out of control
like three-year-olds.
The banks don’t hold.
Barriers can only do so much.

Houses connect to the land.
The sight of so much water
throws them.
First, it floats away the welcome mat.
Then it moves into the first floor,
rises toward the second.
People can only scramble up
to their rooftops
and watch cars washed away,
trees uprooted, streets flooded,
animals drowned, crops destroyed.

Someone says that nature’s
angry about something,
when it’s really indifferent
about everything.
The clouds aren’t rabid.
The air’s not crazed.
They just react to circumstances.

So these forces aren’t erratic after all.
They’re as logical as atoms making molecules.
Our angsts, our disturbances,
our tensions, our fear of change –
that’s the true storm.

Eventually, the sun comes out.
The water recedes.
Time to inspect the damage.
Yourself is a good place to start.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.

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