The grass between my toes


Today I stirred through the stone clad streets of our city
bear footed, thick soled, I padded
purposefully, confidently, cautiously, at times
but always feeling the ground beneath
the gravel, sharp and rootless, biting
and shifting underfoot

setts, crackle edged, deep-recessed, northern-rooted
smooth tarmac, warm, swarthy, vibrating gently
with an imminent car or bike
Hopping up a kerb, I scuttled into
a steeplechaser, bounding, leaping
my course the potholes or unseasonal puddles

But for all this I want to feel the grass
between my toes, it’s sword shard edges
breaking swards to release the smell
of first-cut lawns in Spring
a snaking path through oxeye daisies, buttercups
shining nettles best avoided are there all the same
spurring me on through that way
with the grass beneath my toes

First swards

First swards_fotor

The first green stripes have appeared, verdant and plump, fluffed up like new pillows from the fizzing barber’s blades; rotary cutters in a cycle of snipping. Clipped edges, scraggily neat, on turf in truth to wet to cut, but it’s a signal all the same, a beacon, that Spring beckons like the first rays of morning light, optimism rising. There’s always one who breaks the seal of Winter first, pitching for a place as gardener of the year, eager to see that thick-pile carpet of grass, moss and daisies, one light, one dark, feathery foot marks following where gumboots amble behind. The real change though is in the air not on the ground. Gone, the crackling dry smells of sharp frosts, cracking wood under sheaves of leaf litter and curling morning mists. In, the rich smells like snapped daffodil stalks, of grass swards, their winter hair army-sheared, their sap freed to storm dark adenoids and wake up the green man within.