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10 January 2024

The NS Poem: Growing Grass

A new poem by Raymond Antrobus.

By Raymond Antrobus

After Philip Larkin and Ross Gay

Because I didn’t know much about gardening
when we first rented the house with a garden

we called a man who drove miles to tend
our plot, to dig a path and tame

the green that swayed as if to celebrate
what wind brushed through it. I realise

the man can’t refuse the work.
Blades will always present themselves

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in these transactions. Kindness
doesn’t come into it really, but when my partner

and I open the blinds, smiling as we prepare
breakfast for ourselves and the toddler

whose feet bumble the ground
around the bed towards the mirror to see

the dance of what can be done with
muscles in the legs and arms and face,

it seems the earth is not here for us
but with us. And how would we get from

one place to another without the kindness
of paths, of seeding and mowing? 

Raymond Antrobus’s most recent collection of poetry is “All the Names Given” (Picador)

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This article appears in the 10 Jan 2024 issue of the New Statesman, The Year of Voting Dangerously