Five poems from the 1990's

John Grover


These nordic winter days are all too short.
The sun moves from my table to my bed,
and then the sun's last silken rays are shed
over the shimmering rooftops and the port.

I sit here with a cup of sweetened tea
and stir it slowly with a silver spoon.
The room grows dim, and now the crescent moon
is climbing high above the darkening sea.

These nordic winter nights are all too cold
as they infuse their frost into my pen.
Tomorrow, with the sun, I'll rise again
to watch this silver sea turn into gold.

I wrote this poem in probably 1993 or 1994 if not earlier. See the article 'Andrea della Robbia. (There may have been 'far too cold' for 'all too cold' in the original version).

I fell into a restless sleep

I fell into a restless sleep
one Sunday afternoon.
I thought I heard somebody weep,
so near to me, so soon.

So clear it sounded, like a bell
in spring, on heather land,
as of a sheep it should foretell,
or of a leperous man.

I reached my hand out in my bed
where sleep had taken me.
There was a buzzing in my head:
Had angels shaken me?

I saw a window slamming up
in the harsh winter storm.
The hasp and catch were hammering, but
the frame was still a form.

I heard a weeping from the moon
as from a violin
one Sunday in the afternoon
in the strong winter wind.

I wrote this poem in probably 1998 (if not 1999).

Three poems from 1996


The wooden cover, as a shell,
creaks on hinges, and I peel
golden pollen from the well,
from its dusty water shield.

Such beer of heart rests in my lap.
The sandals which my young feet wear
work the dust with leathern straps.
My boyish heart drinks the air.


The night when I was carrying my soul,
assisting the cook to shape my name,
I helped an eagle out of a kitchen bowl
the smith had wrought to cast my shame.

I opened up the window for the fleeing bird
and went to bed and drank a glass of milk.
The beating eagle in the garden heard
the Lord arriving in his slushy silk.


In the autumn dark, my days grow shorter.
In the white river, I wash at night.
My shirt breathes in the silent water,
in its blue and stone mausoleum of light.

The shirt is the tent of my soul.
A single half-moon writes in the river
as I wash the meanings out. In the cold
and stony water, my white shirt shivers.

I sent these three poems (with a literary form I had made myself) to the literary magazine ORBIS in 1996. It was returned with a standard formula from then editor Mike Shields. I did not discover before I found the envelope again early 30 april 2020 that the first poem - with a sort of 'emotional sensation' when pulling the paper out of the envelope - resembled the editor's name. Here is the paper print from 1996 - they were originally on three paper sheets. The second and third poem are reproduced in my vol.3 (in the above form). For the first, see also the 'Pugel u. Pollenlager'. I forgot also some poetry notebooks in 'Barnabitenkirche' in the summer 2019 - when that gyro plaything was en vogue.

John Bjarne Grover
On the web 8 february 2021
'North' on the web 15 october 2020
'Three poems from 1996' on the web 3 may 2020