Image by Crispin Hughes

The Grass Church at Dilston Grove

Sarah Maguire


The Grass Church at Dilston Grove

Sarah Maguire


The Grass Church at Dilston Grove

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:

mineral,
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
opens

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
up

except lie
under its sky of moving roots.


'The Grass Church at Dilston Grove' from The Pomegranates of Kandahar (Chatto & Windus, 2007), © Sarah Maguire 2007, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Recordings

Sarah Maguire Reading from Her Poems

1Vigil

2Almost the Equinox

3Cow Parsley, Bluebells

4The Grass Church at Dilston Grove

5The Fracture Clinic

6The Invisible Mender

7My Father's Piano

8The Hearing Cure

9Tidemarks

10Traveling Northward

11May Day, 1986

12Wolves Are Massing on the Steppes of Kazakhstan

13From Dublin to Ramallah

14Zaata

15The Pomegranates of Kandahar

16The Florist's at Midnight

17The Mist Bench 18Year-Round Chrysanthemums

19My Grafting Knife

20The Tree Bank at Ten

21Cotton Boll

22Europe

23Mahbouba Zaidi’s Hands

24Hibiscus

25Damascene

26Cloves and Oranges

27Jasmine in Yemen 28Rosemary

29The Jardin des Plantes

30Proof

31Psoriasis

32Dust

33Spilt Milk