The Grass Church at Dilston Grove


Papered with clay
then seeded with fescue and rye,

the church walls fur
with a soft green pelt,

filaments trying the air
before climbing the light.

The church is damp;
it smells of a tool-shed:

soil coating tines and boots,

vegetable, with the sap
of lifted plants.

At sunset
small squares of yellowing sunlight

plot the fading grass
through cross-hatched windows,

loose panes stove in,
the lead curled back.

Memories of redemption
wane in the rafters,

communion forgotten
in the emptied nave,

a mission beached
without a flock,

the lost souls lost
to the docks.

Pebble-dashed agglomerate:
these are the rough-cast walls

of the first concrete church in London.
And now the grass comes home

as a box of green metaphors

while I watch.
How old I have become.

Everything the grass has asked of me,
I have done:

I have taken the grass for my path,
for my playground, and for my bed;

I have named grass seeds,
I have borne volumes of turf;

I know the stuff of clay,
the weight of sods,

the bloom of Agrostis
on mended soil.

Everything the grass has asked of me
on this earth, I have done

except give my self

except lie
under its sky of moving roots.

from The Pomegranates of Kandahar (Chatto & Windus, 2007), © Sarah Maguire 2007, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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