James Pollock reads My Grandmother’s Bible
My Grandmother’s Bible
Mary Pollock, née McConnell (1887-1959)
The shape, the heft, of a shovelful of sod.
A sheaf of God. Its soft-worn pebbled grain
of supple Levant morocco. Two rips
yawn along the spine two inches long,
a strip of leather’s lacking at the top.
The pages, inked in foxed and well-thumbed red
along the fore-edges like a thousand lips,
are gilded on heads and tails, the gilt half-faded.
Out of the biblical plagues of the 1930s,
black storms of dust, vast ravening clouds
of grasshoppers, comes this blasted, smoking heirloom,
a nut-brown flap of torn and weathered leather
wrapping a slab of paper. Its English
plunges into my heart like a small black bird.
From Sailing to Babylon by James Pollock
Copyright © 2012 by James Pollock