Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

BooksJuly 5, 2024

The Friday Poem: ‘The knowledge in grass’ by Elizabeth Smither

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

A new poem by Elizabeth Smither.

The knowledge in grass

The top sports field, now all games are ceased
grows longer grass. It is the week
of unaccredited exams whose students walk
with books in front of their noses, in the stubble,
talking to themselves. We, below them, can see
their lips moving, their furrowed brows bending
over dates and declensions, names of rivers
how the Etruscans lived and the Romans.

The romance they really desire is in the grass
and there they would be lying, dreaming
if not for these blessed books they are holding.
They’ll come here again, after the exam papers
are gathered up and held at arms’ length
by the invigilators, like waitresses carrying plates.

Forever after, if they leave or stay, the grass will be
the base of any perfume, this late summer,
the grass absorbing the sporting heels and toes
the knowledge slipping down their arms and elbows
as they pace, blink in the sun, and learn and learn.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed.

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