Study Guide

Grass Summary

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Grass Summary

This short poem is not spoken by a human being, but by the grass. (That's some pretty impressive vegetation, if we do say so ourselves.) In the first stanza, the grass commands soldiers to "pile the bodies high" at Austerlitz and Waterloo, two famous battlefields from the Napoleonic Wars in the early nineteenth century. The grass then says that it covers "all." In the second stanza, the grass lists other famous battlefields—Gettysburg from the Civil War, and Ypres and Verdun, from WWI. It commands soldiers to pile the bodies high again. The grass imagines that, in the future, ordinary people will travel on trains past the battlefields, and wonder what they are; they will not remember the battles or see signs of them on the landscape. The grass then ends the poem with the declaration: "let me work."

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