Poetry Break: By John Grey

Editor’s Note: 

John Grey is a prolific poet. He’s been published multiple times in reputable poetry reviews, magazine, and anthologies. We’re proud to have him as a part of the Two Drops family of poets. 


All it needs is some rain around here.

The land doesn’t need to tell me that

but it does.

The weary pasture cries out,

“I can’t do this on my own.”

Even the toppled fence posts

would prefer to mildew and rot

from the inside

than sear like bullock skulls.


Every silence is about the weather.

Unworked fields. Mute birds.

Uninspired seeds.

A cloud does float in

from the horizon,

with patches of gray

like those shadows on the moon.

But from below,

it’s like a drifting safe

to which no one knows the combination.


This landscape feels as if

it once held its breath in expectation,

an expectation never realized.

So it gritted and gripped

until its lungs gave out.


To cap off death’s allegory,

I see, between a sorry looking grove of trees,

an old abandoned shack,

its derelict partner of a barn.

Someone tried to make themselves a life here.


But then a drop of rain

taps on my shoulder,

And another splats gently on my head.

The weather has finally broken

but like a patron who arrives at the theater

long after the actors took their bows.

Finally, the cloud splits open

like a wet paper bag.

It rattles the roof of that shack.

I know what it’s saying.

“We’ll make a farmhouse of you yet.”


I’d live in orange milkweed

if it were a country.

I’d travel the lands of birdsong,

sleep in the vale of streams.


But nature,

for all the purity of its intent,

is obsessed with people.

It herds them in great numbers,

makes them live shoulder to shoulder,

attitude to attitude,

belief to belief.


I get along fine with Solomon’s seal,

the skittish rabbit on the trail

and the breeze,

even when its gets so full of itself,

it becomes wind.


But I’ve neighbors on either side

and they have me.

The air is thick with others breathing.

Every sound is littered with their words.

I either make allowances

or go to war on these intrusions

into my sense of self.

Sometimes, I just turn up my music loud.


I hugged her to me

as a road-train crossed the sky,

or was it a chorale of drummers

or the choreographed stamping

of the Chinese.


It was temporary.

Nothing that loud ever lasts.


A million rough-voiced sailors.

the combined clang of a thousand factories,

an angry god – not the God

but one no longer worshiped –


I was delighted to be at least their equal

for she felt safe.


After a half hour or so,

the locomotive left the station,

the rocket burst out through

Earth’s upper atmosphere,

a multitude of rifle ranges shuttered.


She fell asleep.

Sorry Angela, I told her,

I can’t help you there.

Authors Bio:


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review, and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Other links for John Grey:

  1. An interview with John Grey at The 3288 Review
  2. HEArt Online
  3. Google results for John Grey’s work

Published posts on Two Drops of Ink:

1) Poetry Break by John Grey

Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

The Wall of Poets

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  1. Hello John. Time for a shower made me pause and reflect on a memory of when I spent ninety days in the Mohave desert. It did not rain once, only two terrible wind storms. Great visuals in your writing. Thank you. John.

  2. Hi, John. Once again, you’ve captured emotions, visuals, and make me wonder. I find that all of your poems do that for me, and I’m appreciative of someone who can give me pause from the daily concerns.

    Thank you, John.

    • Thanks for the kind words. ‘Time For A Shower” is actually a testament to my oldest sister who, for many years, owned a station (the Australian version of a ranch) in the outback. It’s a tough life and droughts are common.

  3. John, I really enjoyed this poetry break today while slowing sipping a cup of tea as well as your words.
    All three of your offerings are beautiful.
    I can especially relate to Time for a Shower. I could feel the dryness of every living thing, all begging for rain. Then the relief and joy as at last it poured forth. Living in the Deep South, I have experienced the extreme of both weather conditions. Your poem placed me in the middle of both again.

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