Philip Gross

(1952 / Delabole / Uk)

The Key to the Kingdom - Poem by Philip Gross

It's not exile, homes and families behind
us, where we meet. It happens anywhere,
now: a stateless
state of no name, quietly seceding
from the crumbling empires round us,

without stamps or Eurovision entries.
No-one does it with a rough guide in a week.
You inhabit it
or nothing. Like this: in a pavement cafe
you blink and you seem to surprise them,

the crowd, all its separate faces at once,
coming out of solution like crystals,
like a rush of starlings
or the breeze that lifts the canvas awning
now and dents your cappuccino froth

with a crisp little sound. And that's it:
between breaths, just between you and me
as if; yes,
QED. You are received. This is
the freedom of the city, and the key

to the kingdom, and its borders ripple
outwards like a frill of breaking wave
onto flat sand,
a wavering line already fading leaving
spume-flecks high and dry,

a prickling on your palm; you're five
years old, looking up at the whole sea,
unsure:
will you laugh or cry?


Comments about The Key to the Kingdom by Philip Gross

  • Glen Kappy (10/25/2016 8:08:00 AM)

    The Key to the Kingdom
    wow! gross gets as close as anyone can, i think, to describing something that is hard to describe, transient but transforming. i think it's a moment like i try to describe in my haiku driving north when the sun rises over the mountains.

    where is home really? gross describes it- where your are received. by whom? i know it is by God. just as we are- sins and all, faults and all- God loves us because love is what God is and does.

    gross is describing, it seems to me, a moment of clarity when we see this, when we know this. but it's only a moment- but its borders ripple outwards- into the way we see, into our perspective on life- but it's already fading. but all it takes is a moment!

    will you laugh or cry? both. perhaps both at the same time- for the joy of this realization. i sobbed. such a moment unmoors us but is wonderful. we know a secret now. we have a knowing that is beneath- a foundation- and that lasts after the passing show of this world.

    glen kappy
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  • Anil Kumar Panda (10/25/2016 8:08:00 AM)


    the crowd, all its separate faces at once,
    coming out of solution like crystals, , , , yeah, that is right. There is no dearth of ideas people share in such situations. Nice drop. Congrats.
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (10/25/2016 5:09:00 AM)

    Looking up at the whole sea!
    Like a frill of breaking waves. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (10/25/2016 2:37:00 AM)


    You are received. This is
    the freedom of the city, and the key

    to the kingdom.......... Congrats for being chosen.....
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, June 17, 2016

Poem Edited: Friday, June 17, 2016


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