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

Sarah Maguire Reading from Her Poems

1Vigil

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2Almost the Equinox

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3Cow Parsley, Bluebells

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4The Grass Church at Dilston Grove

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5The Fracture Clinic

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6The Invisible Mender

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7My Father's Piano

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8The Hearing Cure

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9Tidemarks

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10Traveling Northward

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11May Day, 1986

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12Wolves Are Massing on the Steppes of Kazakhstan

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13From Dublin to Ramallah

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14Zaata

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15The Pomegranates of Kandahar

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16The Florist's at Midnight

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17The Mist Bench

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18Year-Round Chrysanthemums

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19My Grafting Knife

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20The Tree Bank at Ten

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21Cotton Boll

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22Europe

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23Mahbouba Zaidi’s Hands

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24Hibiscus

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25Damascene

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26Cloves and Oranges

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27Jasmine in Yemen

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28Rosemary

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29The Jardin des Plantes

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30Proof

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31Psoriasis

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32Dust

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33Spilt Milk

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