a tide of faces breaking against green grass


Senior Member
I can't seem to figure out what the speaker is trying to describe by saying 'tide of faces breaking against the green grass'? Unless the spectators fall down and crush theirs faces into the green grass, their faces can't break against the green grass, logically speaking.

At the arch, I looked out over a tide of faces breaking against green grass ans the white on black of the scoreboard.

All Over Ireland
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The scoreboard shows we're at a sporting event. So there's presumably a green field with the players on it, and the spectators are a moving mass of faces, imagined as resembling the moving sea on the edge of the 'beach' of the green field. Their continual motion is the image of the 'tide'. Does this fit the situation?


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The more usual expression that I've heard is a sea of faces. You can imagine them resembling the ocean, with little movements of the waves (i.e. people) but not going anywhere overall. Here she is apparently imagining the green grass of the field as a beach of sand, and the faces around it like the waves that come into a beach.

    But a tide doesn't really break on a beach. Waves break. A tide is a slow movement that takes hours to complete.