Perhaps it is not slang. The expression is not referenced in Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang. Perhaps it is just idiomatic. To ‘kick into the long grass’ – which I understand to mean to take an issue or a problem out of play, ignoring it.
The problem is displaced in space – in the discursive space, the problem space – banished into the wilderness, the rough. It is not simply a matter of deferral, not like the term so often used around recent financial crises – ‘to kick the can down the road’ – we’ll deal with it, eventually, it’s still in play…but not just yet.
The long grass lies to either side of the road, the playing field – the game. Or all around it.
The long grass is also, of course, a place to hide. A locale of concealment – and sometimes ambush. Its creatures lurk, stalk or observe – calculate.
I have always felt safest in the long grass. Camouflaged. It is not like the jungle or the forest. It is liminal. Like the edge of the firelight, the feral boundary. You can see the long grass from the road. You can see the road from the long grass.
Camouflaged yet glimpsed. Willing to be visible but not too much. Withheld. Reserved. Unbelonging.
It is a place of refuge. It is not the underworld. It is not occult. It is the long grass where those who do not belong, but are not wholly wild, move cautiously, wait motionless, watch, review, reflect. Sometimes prepare to pounce. It is the long grass where discarded themes and challenges – all of those issues in the ‘too-difficult box’ – lie.
Viewed from the long grass
the road runs from left to right
taking us nowhere
So here we are in the long grass.