Monday, 21 March 2016

The Strength of Grass

Here, for National Poetry Day, is a poem that I wrote on retreat a year or two ago:
The Strength of Grass

I want the strength of grass.

For too long I have huddled in the shelter of walls,
Barricaded myself behind books,
Armoured myself with a carefully constructed C.V.
Invested in equity-cushioned bricks,
Double-glazed, triple-insulated against the cold:
Nothing can touch me now.

But I am lonely, safe in my fortress.
I do not want my epitaph to read:
'She was safe'. Safe as houses.

And so I rummage through the other available metaphors.
I could be strong as a rock? Too static.
Strong as an ox? Too bovine.

I want to be strong like an oak tree -
No, make that a flowering cherry -
Firmly planted in the gound,
Roots drinking from living water,
Holding fast to the rock,
Resilient, bending before high winds,
Bearing in due season
Exuberant blossom,
A lush green canopy,
Gleaming juicy fruit.

But still alone.

I want the strength of grass:
A mat of roots so tangled
God only knows where one plant ends and the next begins.
Cut low and growing thick,
Packed together so that even the chillest wind
Barely causes us to shiver.

Heavy weather and heavy boots
May trample us into the mud -
But we will spring back, re-grow,
Flush green again for generations to come.

I want the strength of grass.


  1. Would love to post this in our church magazine?

  2. You're welcome! Just obviously reference me and give this blog address.