Comments 58

Countryside Wisdom

I always greet red dawns with caution.

Farmer’s daughter,

I turn over countryside sayings

like hard-boiled sweets

in my mouth.

The syrup long since sucked

from the center,

now all crunch and brittle,

the shards pricking my gums

in warning.

No amount of scoffing,

can keep my grandmother’s voice

from speaking to the dawn.

Soft, and familiar,

chanting the same words,


now made fact.

Red mornings are both beautiful,

and dangerous.

We should watch

for a change in the winds.


This entry was posted in: Poetry


Carol J Forrester is a writer and a history geek. Her debut collection 'It's All In The Blood' came out November 2019. She has a 2:1 BA degree in history from Bath Spa University, enjoys judo at least twice a week, and tries to attend poetry events around the Midlands when she can. Her flash fiction story ‘Glorious Silence’ was named as River Ram Press’ short story of the month for August 2014 and her short story ‘A Visit From The Fortune Teller’ has been showcased on the literary site Ink Pantry. Her poems ‘Sunsets’ and ‘Clear Out‘ were featured on Eyes Plus Words, and two of her poems were included in the DVerse Poets Pub Publication ‘Chiaroscuro’ which is available for purchase on amazon.Her poem ‘Until The Light Gets In‘ was accepted and published at The Drabble and her poem ‘Newborn’ was published by Ink Sweat & Tears. She has been lucky enough to write guest posts for sites such as Inky Tavern and Song of The Forlorn and has hosted a number of guest bloggers on her site Writing and Works.


  1. “Red sky at morning” also an old mariner’s rhyme.
    Red sky at morning
    Sailor take warning
    Red sky at night
    Sailor’s delight.

    Great piece

  2. Beautiful, Carol. Those old myths about the color of the dawn ripple through my thoughts and memories as well. I sensed both love and nostalgia in your poem.

    • Thanks Diana. My Great-Grandmother was very superstitious, and despite ‘scoffing’ at a lot of what she used to say, I still don’t like to cross on the stairs, spill salt, or cross knives on a plate. These little things have a way of creeping under your skin and sticking.

        • In it’s various forms yes. Someone once told me that magic is just the things science hasn’t explained yet but I like to think that perhaps a little bit of wonder does exist out there somewhere. Until I actually find it, I’ll just have to write about it instead.

  3. I like the reference to the grandmother’s words and way you have woven them into the context of the poem. Those old voices still resonate don’t they.

    • They really do. I think I’ve taken a lot from my grandmothers. I was lucky enough to get to know my great-grandmother well and she made a huge impression on my younger life. We tend to carry people with us as we grow I’ve found.

  4. Pingback: Photo prompt round-up: Renewal #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  5. Carl, I love your poem of ‘sayings like hard-boiled sweets… all crunch and brittle’ and warnings. I agree that ‘Red mornings are both beautiful, / and dangerous’ – and I’m keeping watch for a change in the winds.

    • I’m so sorry, Carol! I was typing on my Kindle and it changes words randomly – this time it was your name.

      • Haha, no worries. I updated my surname at work the other week and instead of Finch my email for Fitch for a fortnight. Typos are easily done.

  6. Glenn Buttkus says

    The simplicity and clarity of this is quite refreshing. Too much of my day is consumed railing against politicians or my disability. Your lovely words and thoughts ground me, and let me return to a more natural state for a few glorious minutes.

  7. the “hard boiled sweets” simile really works, very tactile image, it’s the engine of the poem.

  8. Same proverb here, except that if the clouds are like the ones in the photo, the fine weather won’t last. Watch out for those changing winds…

  9. A beautiful write Carol and I can hear your grandmother’s voice. We grew up with a similar saying and here in the Highlands it holds no longer true – we rarely have rain after a red dawn.

  10. Beverly Crawford says

    Ah, granny was wise. As the saying goes “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky in morning, sailors take warning”. My farming parents, too, keyed into nature’s messages with regard the weather! I liked your write.

  11. I look forward to seeing those red mornings:

    Red mornings are both beautiful,
    and dangerous.

  12. sanaarizvi says

    This is absolutely lovely! I fall in love each and every time I read your poems. You are the next big thing ❤❤

    • That’s very sweet of you and I hope your right. This year the plan is to try and get some more poems published, enter competitions, and put together a collection of poems to hopefully get published next year or the one after. I’ve got twenty out of the targeted sixty so far so fingers crossed.

  13. Carol, how wonderful this piece is! Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning… may your skies be red at night…

  14. Yes, I grew up with this simple way of predicting the weather. I think it was originally for sailors rather than farmers… but then again why would it be different? Well done!

  15. It seems even we city people know about red mornings and nights. I repeated the same saying to my daughters many times. Great evocation. (K)

  16. I admire the way you took that old saying as your prompt and reworked it into this fine poem – the way the grandmother stands in for the “old wives” of cliched aphorisms; “warning” retained; the red skies seen afresh… You made it your own but still transmitted the same information that the saying embedded in it’s rhyming lines – the weather changes constantly; beware of certain kinds of beautiful appearance; pay attention to the big picture (the sky beneath which our small lives play out. These old sayings haunt us for a reason and they need to be reworded lest we forget. Very classy work!

  17. Wow. This reminded me of my father’s saying while growing up, “Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky at morning, sailor’s take warning.” I have know idea where this came from.
    This is a great opening line, “I always greet red dawns with caution.” I also like the way you used the homemade candy in this poem.

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