Grace Marie Grafton – Five Poems


Trumpet Flower

If we take the veils away
one by one, a filmy ritual, trusting
that the under one is protected
by the faith adhering to its nature –
if we respectfully place them side by
side on the perfect lawn or
between drops of rain,
taking care that no headlong
dogs are near, then we
can see the subtle, diaphanous
differences between layers
and realize the way
our memories overlap, how they
dwell together and we walk
in several forms through
reverberating halls where light
sifts from a source
so untraceable we are forced
simply to live within it.


Tubes lead down
into another structure
we can’t see. Bees
may see it, flies and
conical things. They exist.
Maybe we don’t know they exist –
we don’t see them. They see
(if they see) a different world
than our eyes.
Something wrapped
into the core, or plural:
cores. Bend over backward
(possible for very few),
everything newly
defined. Takes an open
mind to accept
how much we don’t know.


Where grown-ups lie in the grass,
children poke tongues
into secrets they
pull out and polish.

The tongues reach
the phalanxes of words and
fertilize the seeds. Matter,
mutter, Mad Hatter. Remember
how story was the mind’s onyx?

Downriver, petals float
and multiply and we learn
to forgive. Not six, not seven
but nevertheless, beginning.

Mistakes and turnings
inside out, each silliness
unwinds the clock.


A new syllable parts the rain.
We wait while it settles the longtime
spat. Children expect results.
They haven’t yet learned to step back
under the eaves and listen.
Bodies full of blood and motion.
Split the atom at our peril.
The author explained: humans
don’t remember. Too much
remembering weighs too much.
Blood must be free to roam and
believe, leave stains.
Syllable washes away in the rain.


Confetti on Tuesday.
Give it a shake, give it a whirl,
we won’t get trapped in the humid
South if we walk near where
the circle begins. It’s
a private party but everyone
can enjoy the joke. Even
understand. In a democracy.
We forgive the peacock’s wail,
hold in mind the way
its tail, the way its iridescent
neck, the way the few feathers
sprouting out its forehead,
are eloquent.
Causing us to forget
the sorrow in its throat.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Color. I choose color. Although I also choose the night sky with its fiery silver stars and no other colors at all.

I choose flowers, especially the ones that lure my vision into their entrancing center. Poppies, columbine, the daffodil.

I choose silk or moss or certain musics.

Someone else might choose dogs (a particular dog?), automobiles, marble counter tops, a special person’s laughter.

What’s most important to me about beauty is the way it makes me feel. Looking closely at the petal of my magenta orchid, I feel fulfilled, I settle into my core and, at the same time, feel uplifted. I’m happy.

I am a devotee of beauty. In the presence of a masterful painting or a line of poetry whose words rise off their meaning, I’m inspired to feel, and perhaps express, what’s most true within me.

Beauty arouses love in me. I want to remain with/in the beauty. I find a fundamental internal/external harmony in what is beautiful to me. A reason to stay alive. In the next hour that life gives me, might come along my next beautiful thing. Wow!


Grace Marie Grafton’s most recent book, Jester, was published by Hip Pocket Press. She is the author of six collections of poetry. Her poems won first prize in the Soul Making contest (PEN women, San Francisco) and in the annual Bellingham Review contest. Poems recently appear in Sin Fronteras, The Cortland Review, Askew, Fifth Wednesday Journal and CA Quarterly.