(One summer, for a few days, Orkney was full of white grass everywhere!)

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I call the strange grass spume-grass:

under lapwings’ crying, stems and stems,

pale mops or fluffs of white

by marsh-edge, sodden hems

by streams, so singly beaconed first,

then places fairly giving way

to whirling cavort, snowy plants.

I watched – and everything grew mild.

My heart went out to them but came back wild.

They are their Orkney Islands’ white possessivenesses.

Never have so many seeming-stirred been wild wind-woken

under stones and stunts of trees.

See how they pucker out their sheer unbroken

sheen of white unfolding fleeces and flights.

They’re rising and white riggings rain! And yet,

and yet, their white tips

and their green-flag-silver-stippled stems

are changing in my vision to black phlegms!

Never to have known them here more beautiful

nor ever burnt to sing and match those sung.

A bevy are continuously spreading silver-threading roots

from pools, from lathes of earth, from dung;

and every pail of excrement has harboured wings

of white, and countless stirring graces,

for the mind’s a gyre of furious contradictions

with spume-graced dung embedded furtively therein.

If humans make this less than tragedy,

what flower can win?


What do you think?

Written by Jonathan Finch