The Hungry Grass
 
 
Not: It is a common belief in Ireland that anyone
     who steps on a famine grave will have the strength
     sucked from their body by the hungry bones underneath
 
Crossing the shallow holdings high above sea
Where few birds nest, the luckless foot may pass
From the bright safety of experience
Into the terror of the hungry grass.
 
Here in a year when poison from the air
First withered in despair the growth of spring
Some skull-faced wretch whom nettle could not save
Crept on four bones to his last scattering,
 
Crept, and the shrivelled heart which drove his thought
Towards platters brought in hospitality
Burst as the wizened eyes measured the miles
Like dizzy walls forbidding him the city.
 
Little the earth reclaimed from that poor body
And yet remembering him the place has grown
Bewitched and the thin grass he nourishes
Racks with his famine, sucks marrow from the bone.
 
 
 
 
Close Window