Candy Makers and Other Poems by John Grey

Still Shining

A feeling of coziness mixed with a unique perspective is what you can get from John Grey’s poetry. He is an Australian poet, a US resident, and has words for us to enjoy! Go take a look!


I’d watch them through the window of the store,
in white shirt and pants, floppy hats on heads,
stirring the steaming vats of melting sugar,
stretching out yards of that magic concoction,
a buttery, vanilla slide for a boy’s excited tongue.

Always a pane of glass those days between
the boy and the dream, always that hard sidewalk
of reality looking in on the shop a kid could never
enter on his own.

No one ever cooked cauliflower in full view of all.
No one ever mashed potatoes, peeled lettuce from the head,
while kids looked on in hungry awe.
The food I reluctantly ate
was just a threat acted on.
It was never a promise fulfilled.


I wonder what becomes of you
once the poet is done singing your praises.

After he’s described you
as all the sweet, weightless things
in his earth-bound life,
what will that do to
all your chirping, flapping noisy pleasure?

There’s no benefit to you
in his words.
He’s like the dark sky
and the drumming rain
even as he comes to you,
pen raised, trying to lift you higher.

He’s what you shake and
cower from, even at his most
He’s what you sink from
at his most uplifting.

He can’t appreciate that
down-stroke, up-stroke,
lift and drag
make perfect sense.
It’s sensibility he’s after.

You don’t need his gravity.
He could use your flight.


The clovers
are gathered by witches
on full moon nights,
but she’s no witch,
and it’s the bright light of day.

Spells are of no interest
but good luck’s always welcome
and so what if the mutation occurs
only once in ten thousand,
those odds are far superior
to the lottery’s.

She’s on her knees,
threading pink-and-white bolls
with eager fingers,
avoiding bee stings,
her eyes as keen
as a gold miner’s.

One magic sprig of trefoil
would lift so many shadows.
Forget the bright sunlight.
It’s surplus to her requirements.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousi Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Blueline, Willard, and Maple and Red Coyote.

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