Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Golden Grey Age

The Golden Grey Age

When water loved air
pitched low pitched black
in a graphite blur

we only walked
where the footing was good
where we knew where we were.

When the mist showed her teeth
after licking our cheeks
while frogs sang like birds

and bugs trilled like frogs,
we went round the soft spots,
we stayed on the rock

we knew, borrowed from time
with the night and the day
handfast gloved in grey.

Suede words in the wind
fell hollow and old, phantoms
fogged out of caves

by drenched lips or tongue
concealed in the dark
of a half-dried smile.

Spirits swayed windward.
Broken clouds dropped rolled,
flowed their cottonwool glaze

on earthenware folds; we hummed air's
humid song, pitched low, pitched black
when the grey age was gold.

~September 2015

posted for    real toads

Images: Beaumaris seascape, by Clarice Beckett, public domain via wikimedia commons
New York Dawn, the Hudson, by Leon Dabo, fair use via


  1. Hi Joy--this is, of course, atmospheric but also describes the transformational (and absolutely naturalistic) qualities of misty perception--it is not exactly a mistaking of one thing for another, but the perception of the resonances between different things--like the frogs sounding like birds and the bugs like frogs--which is absolute true of those misty hours--I love the feeling one's way along aspects here--the search for a safe space to stand even if it is between a rock and a hard place. This feels to me quite descriptive of older age--which may not be what you are writing of--but to me it seemed a metaphor of the good times in that more misty and difficult to discern period in our lives--where things are both muted because senses are simply a bit cataracted--but also very intense. Great image too. k .

  2. This is so beautiful and evocative. Wonderful tonality, imbued with mood. An impressive write, Joy....I especially love the frogs singing like birds and bugs trilling like frogs.

  3. Your words play like music to my eyes. Lovely.

  4. My tongue LOVES your poems. Thank you, Hedge for sharing your work and for inspiring @ the garden today. :)

  5. This one feels a bit like it wants to twist my tounge into knots.
    I rather feel the swirl of the fog, and a whole bit of mystery - as fog often brings with it.
    It really sets the scene/atmosphere - I am feeling rather boggy - especially
    avoiding those soft spots, cause you may never be seen again.
    Its a bit spooky, but fun.

  6. This misty, moody piece makes me think of Golum. I love the images and language and the melody of your verse.

  7. Lot of lovely moods and images there..but "suede words" just did it for me!!

  8. This makes me think of childhood and the care of knowing how and where to walk between the forces that loom. I would imagine they would close in on me if I stopped singing! Love "pitched low, pitched black" and
    "we knew, borrowed from time
    with the night and the day
    handfast gloved in grey."
    And how the grey is gold.
    Beautifully toned!

  9. Golden grey, there's sooth of a reliable tooth left in the skull -- You've marbled the mood so gently, careful to defuse the stonier truths into liminal latencies. A "handfast gloved in grey" affords this momentary stay against collusion with gauzy niceties. Fine rhythm and rime, striding those sleepless hedgerows where the music and the gold is still worth beholding. Great to see you writing on, and kudos to this charming charnel-house for your chapel.

  10. Suede words, cottonwool glaze
    Oh, I am in love with your language. Gorgeous, gorgeous work. In awe of your talent.

  11. my favourite verse

    "When the mist showed her teeth
    after licking our cheeks
    while frogs sang like birds"

    luv the respect in this poem, to be careful in the misty areas of life

    much love...

  12. goodness. suede words, swayed words... impeccable pace and rhythm; hypnotic in the way fading light makes us acknowledge that time indeed passes and we all soon will sleep the long slumber. each verse faceted and gleaming; together they form an exquisite gem ~

  13. I wanted to let you know that I really like the line about walking on the rock we knew--I can't help thinking of rock and hard place here (as in between) and the idea of walking on the rock one knows feels like that to me--in that it is not that we walked on the path we knew or felt safe particularly, but we lived with the pain that was familiar to us. So very vivid a way to put it, I guess is what I am saying. k.

  14. So much to love in this, but I especially like "suede words." It doesn't matter how much we brush the leather of our words, they can fall harsh against the spirit. Perhaps we become so accustomed to gray we need sunglasses for words that shed light.

  15. My first visit to your blog and I am completely blown away by the wistful beauty, the sweep and flow of the words as they fell gladly into my heart.

  16. Such poetry is, to me, a joy. You have blended all together so well, the colours, the emotions and the path of youth to age, which we all must tread. There is a careful measure to each line, allowing the full weight of image and tone to be conceptualized. Well worth the many days I waited before reading.

  17. Here, nothing is clear or certain, and nothing is as it seems when frogs masquerade as birds and bugs in turn pose as frogs. Even your language is misty with lots of soft consonants. I suggest holding fast to something, because the next step might be longer than it looks.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats