Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

You Have Sprung and Other Poems – John Grey

Apr 30, 2022 | Poetry | 0 comments

You Have Sprung

I drive home
into a breeze from the northeast.
It doesn’t bring rain or snow,
just shunts the clouds around,
ruffles brown grass,
shakes trees gaunt from winter. :

The road leads by
wide muddy fields,
patches of standing water,
resolute pines,
brush and shrubs
and last fall’s contingent
of dead leaves.

It’s only when I slow down
that I feel the presence of spring.
It emerges like an ancient driver
whose foot’s always nudging the brake.

It’s new to this after all.
And shivering and tentative.
It can’t remember what foliage looks like.
It can’t imagine how a dogwood flower
comes to be.

But, just as the places nearer where I live
are more and more familiar,
instinct maps its progress forward,
until it discovers that it can define,
outline then paint detail.

You are waiting at the door for me.
And you’re in bloom.
which is what all this has been leading up to.


In the Year of Solitude

The empty birdcage
seems to want to house someone
but can’t.

The door is wide open
but nothing flies in.

And it’s on the kitchen table
of a house
with every entrance,
even the attic window,
to whatever flies by
and needs some place to stay.

But the times have not been kind
to the ones in need of company…
any company.

They beckon, they beg,
from the insides of a cage.
That’s never been an appealing prospect.



From the cellar grating
of Dave’s bar
floats up the swinging gush of jazz.

Through the door,
the bar squirts out
whiffs of whiskey, cigar smoke and beer.

I push my way into
an almost full house.
The end of the working week
is an uncoiling clarinet solo
interspersed with blasts of brass.

Bald head over the bar,
he’s a charming old villain,
a yapper, a sublime filler
of shot glasses and beer tumblers,
the kind of guy
who knows his business best.

“What yer havin’?”
Those words are like sunshine.

Women, guys,
we’ve all got the buildup of steam inside us.
Now it’s time to offer it an escape route.
Laughing, flirting,
even a quiet alcoholic
lap of honor around brain cells
will do the trick.

Man is an odd creature.
Everything he does
is an antidote to something else
that he does.
Work leads to drink to
apologies and promises
and then to more work.
Dave’s is a kind of fulcrum.
Well-oiled of course.


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


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