The Gray Lands

The Gray Lands
by Theodora Goss

There are days when my heart is sick and my head is aching,
days when I just can’t go on anymore,
when rain comes down and soaks the autumn garden,
and wind blows in the door.

Then I pack my bags for a journey — pajamas, toothbrush,
sensible shoes — and I catch the morning train,
closing the gate behind me and leaving my house
to the relentless rain.

When I arrive at the tiny village station,
the pony trap will be waiting to take me home
along a road between two lines of birches
that have never been bent by storm.

There, in an attic bedroom, I will sleep
as dreamlessly as I slept when just a child,
then take a walk over the high green foothills
left unmown and wild.

There, my heart will feel what it was meant for —
the joy that precedes and sometimes follows pain.
I will remember why I must eventually
return to the world again.

But meanwhile there will be a friendly kitchen,
a cat that wants to curl into my lap,
a kettle singing to the spinning wheel,
tea in a porcelain cup.

Meanwhile I will find peace in my native country,
the strange and distant Gray Lands where I was born,
that you cannot reach unless you have a passport
and look a bit forlorn.

If you come, I will meet you at the station
and bring you back to Mother Night’s abode,
pointing out the poppies and cornflowers blooming
along the winding road.

(The image is Poppy Field, Argenteuil by Claude Monet.)

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5 Responses to The Gray Lands

  1. Sandy Heylen says:

    Wauw! This is so beautifull. It reminds me of my ‘silence retraite’ last week. It was in a convent of Trappistines in Brecht. A small town in Belgium. I was so restless and couldn’t find a way to my inner world. The warm welcome, the holy place the nuns created, nature and the silence gave me a map to find new pads in life. It made me talk with my inner self. Reading your poem gave me a warm feeling, I recognized myself in it. Thank you!

  2. This is utterly beautiful, and is easily one of my new favorite poems. Do you happen to publish them?

    • Aaaand I see that you do. Well, that’s what I get for browsing on my phone. 😀

      • I do publish some! I have a poetry collection that includes some of my earlier poems. (See the Poems page for a list of all the poems on this site that breaks out the ones in the collection.) But mostly I just post them — I’m primarily a fiction writer, so I write poetry for the sheer love of it. 🙂

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