The Sky, Head On

He shaves off his beard after 20 years


When he shaved off his beard

and his face hatched,


she was shy, shrank

in its glare like a fledgling,


peeped out on its newness,

creeping in to watch him sleep


in the chair, brazen,

sunrising from cushions.


And speaking of mornings,

she listened hard


for the sud, scrape, slosh,

of sleek drips unhindered,


glistening their proof

on pink porcelain,


stroked his smoothness,

first with one finger,


shocked by its tight tip’s trail,

later with five of them,


sliding like skaters unrinked.

Love, she thought,


as they lay, that first time,

lights blazing,


and he turned to her,

bedclothes pushed down,


his face wide open.



Cathy Grindrod

A Certain Way


When the light is a certain way

and it is a particular time of evening

late spring, afternoon over, not yet dusk,

and always in the country, some things

up close – bluebells, cow parsley,

a gate you can lean on to look out

over only fields, birdsong,


you stoop, kneel, sometimes

in your best trousers, over a flower,

a bright cuckoo-pint perhaps,

your camera angled precisely.

Always I am walking away,

searching for other flowers for you,

idly, in the late sunshine


and always I turn, happening on you

from a distance, hunched over the flower,

intent, things softening at the edges –

a wood full of bluebells, the road

half-hidden by trees. I look so hard

tears blur the picture till you’re gone,

and only a vague landscape remains


in which you are a memory,

the cuckoo-pint undisturbed. A long time

I bear this. When I wipe my eyes clean

you re-emerge, click into place,

still holding that same pose,

and at last, move, look up, waving

and smiling, disturbing everything.



Cathy Grindrod

(pub Shoestring, 2009 also pub Acumen)


When This Class Writes (At Buxton Community School)  When this class writes           they are deep-in down,                     silent, catching at words, scrabbling,                     missing, casting again.           Now and then one climbs                    bubbling to the surface                               whisper-nudging a neighbour.                                          A droplet falls from lips,                                                       bursts into light.                                Sometimes a ripple                                        surges round a table,                                                    fades, swells again,                                                               trickles away.                                                    When they read out,                                         their words ebb, flow,                                pool for inspection,                     molecules under microscopes            close-up clear. Sometimes they come up shortagainst dams: blockages:stop: stagnate:search for an opening                       and break through, pouring relentless                                into lochs, rivers, the sea,                                         longed-for places                                                     where deep-in down, silent,                                                                                       this class writes.   Cathy Grindrod(pub Shoestring 2009 also pub English in Education (Wiley/Blackwell) 

As You Pass


What will you make of these circles the sun has made,

each in its own perfect halo of light?


A spider might stop, flinch, make itself small for shadows;

a fish choose just one, welcome its limits;

a heron, gaunt on guard, dive into its centre, clean;

a kitten pat its paw inside each one all morning long.


And you?  What will you make of these circles the sun has made?


Crawl through them then, nose them apart.

Look, they are reforming, unfazed, even as you pass.



Cathy Grindrod