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.)