About the Poem
About the poet
Chris Wallace-Crabbe was born in 1934. His father was a journalist and his mother a pianist, and...
Sternly avoiding the asphalt, treading on grass
I pick my pernickety way across
this common urban transliteration of landscape,
the oddly broadcast parks and median-strips,
saluting the god of grass with the rub of my feet:
feet which are held at bay by animal-skins,
tanned, sewn, polished, and frequently scuffed.
Whitman wrote about your multiplicity
as leaves, and yet those thousands of blades are you,
billions, rather. Bland in your closepacked greenness,
your number exceeds those from whose fate you sprout.
Lushly after rain or wispily blond in summer,
bowing briefly you offer a carpet’s welcome
still to the odd walker.
at a roundabout, I would choose the diagonal,
taking note of kikuyu, buffalo, bent and sedge,
feeling in touch, treading a kind of worship
or else, playing with language, my worship of kind.
Old Whitman thought you the hair of young dead men
but you whisper at my feet
that something will survive.
© Chris Wallace-Crabbe, used by permission of the author and publisher