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I cannot cut the grass

September 4, 2012

I read this poem out tonight at Otley poets.  It was a draft but I think the best use of a supportive audience is to take a few risks to see what works.  A number of other contributors tried out drafts as well so I was in good company.  The poem came to me when I was meant to be cutting the grass, but seeing all the life around me, late on a rare summer’s sunny afternoon stopped me.  This was the right decision as the beauty of all the small things going busily about their lives took me out of my usual introspective world view.  By the way for US and other international readers, a ladybird is a ladybug.

I cannot cut the grass

I cannot cut the grass today
though the neighbours tut
and I’m aware of broken promises.

But as I look
then stare
the warm sun
dissolves the lawn
to reveal each blade of grass
standing out green and strong.
I cannot crop them.

Slowly life returns around my stilled feet
The inquisitive bustle of small things.

This year’s fresh froglets
with tails new lost
hop clumsily
to explore the undergrowth.
Away from the borders of the protective pond
where the cautious fish rise to gulp at flies.
Black slugs, varnished molasses
working to some as yet undetermined point.

I cannot slash and cut and ruin the air
with noise and whirring blades
but only crouch to touch
the candied shell of a ladybird.
Slow my breath and smell
the damp earth and subtle
sun-warmed scents.
Allow the rightness
of this microcosm to sway my task.
There is something more than me
when I stop, listen and see.

  1. liking the use a kind of static pause to take in all the small things around you


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