Grass Cutting


Grass is being cut
along the verge
of the main road.

Every once in a while
workmen give the ground
a good shave.

The air becomes an acrid tang
the colour of green.
Blades of unkempt grass
flick like shrapnel
in the wake
of the grass-cutters’
trim and hum.


When I was young
the whirling blades were real
and steel and would
snarl and snap
at a wayward child
as well as grass.

Now the grass is
groomed quietly
and softly pruned and lapped
into neatness
with plastic thread
like pliant curlers.


Even as these lines
fall behind me
the grass will resume
its intractable invasion
of the verges

while the days
that are left
fall and fall away
from the hard edge
blade after blade
like cut grass.

by Alvin Pang
from Testing the Silence (1997)


SELECTED POEMS: "Upgrading" >