Guest Poet Paula Grenside

The Night

The colors of the night
paint boredom
on the silent river
it laps the banks,
like a puppy
asking for affection
by a distracted
How can the night read
the silence
thick as the fog
in my mind
where whispers, just whispers
of memories
condense in gray drops.
My hands in the water
are reddened by the icy touch;
they try to clutch
flowing away
like the echo
of birds' songs
in the distance.

I listen to the accusation of life
as chilling breeze
on shivering grass,
a gowned judge
my heart at the bar.

Traitor to  dreams
the charge is serious.

I opened my eyes,
a world of green,
to let my lover in.
His tongue won entrance
to promises
through doors of lips.
We journeyed
along all hidden paths
of pale hues in Spring,
honey breath
and smelt
the intoxicating  perfumes
of wild flowers
blossoming in the heat
of  flooding Summer.
We glided over moist fields
in the cool Fall
and strung
with golden ribbons,
our  hands
in spike limbs.

My heart did not consider,
did not reel the possibilities
to grow sorrow.
I rolled desire
like a bead
between my fingers.
His heart froze,
a broken branch
under sudden swirling snow.

The night can read my thoughts
and breaks the silence
with the cry
of a crow laughing
at me pleading
for forgiveness

July, 1998

Paula Grenside's Questions:

1) The poem is about love, the sense of loss and the longing for winning back the lover's affection. Nature, however, has a predominant role as a silent listener, accomplice, judge and a teaser. Is all this clear enough in the poem?

2) I used "spike limbs" to complete the metaphor of harvest. Is it effective or does it sound obscure?

Correspond with Paula Grenside at
with your ideas about this poem.


In the slow rhythm of the morning,
stepping  in with pink feet
on fading night,
I watch the peach trees wave
to the last moon beam
that slides through a hanging web.

The spider was awake all night.
He worked and wired
buds and branches,
he wove his  threads,
each filament
made to
a perfect frame,
and now his  trap,
like silk net lace,
gleams and melts in the first sun's rays.

The spider knows how to hide,
how to be still and silent,
a shadow among shadows;
he seems to look away
yet aims at his target;
he mimics buds,
his eyes and web
like fingers
to press the trigger
at the first touch.

And he comes,
when my tender kiss
reaches expecting mouth.
A faint wiggle...
once again I'm caught
in his web.

July, 1998

Paula Grenside's Questions:

Does the poem show the skillful, tenacious work  of the spider?

Do the last lines come too unexpected?

Correspond with Paula Grenside at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop