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.



  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

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

    1. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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)

  10. 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!

  11. 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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