Monday, March 05, 2007


My neighbor’s lawn’s a stern rebuke to mine.
Not merely greener: relentlessly so,
and plush, a velvet monoculture, refined
to a purity too uniform to mow.
It came on a truck a couple of months ago.

It’s Euclid’s snooker table over there.
Still, he rides his snorting Toro from its pen
three dawns a week, to skirt my tangled tare
with blades, defoliants, clouds of nitrogen.
Two cycles done, he goes around again.

I get to watch him as I sip my juice:
each glance across a thin, explicit wince
because my dandelions offer no excuse,
cling to life with a flawless impudence
that mocks the horrors staged beyond the fence.

He knows his undertaking’s bound to fail.
There’s more than disenchantment in his eye:
I think he knows the creature must prevail
that hardly deigns to quiver as he powers by,
but sends its infant millions to his yard to die.


Minx said...

You have a keen eye for domestic/urban detail, John. I love these. My neighbours twitch their curtains at my non-bowling green patch - weeds have rights as well!

Cailleach said...

Lovely use of finely observed domestic/neighbourly detail - with a real touch of Frost too!

Cailleach said...

That's Robert Frost - but you knew that :)))

Atyllah said...

I like your lawn - sounds like mine.

I loved this poem, John, as Minx says, you have a keen eye for domestic detail.

soubriquet said...

My 'lawn' too is a fifth columnist.
There's an anal retentive gardener down the road. He hates me.
I saw some japanese knotweed a few days ago. maybe I should make him a gift of some fragments of root.

L.M.Noonan said...

Who says poetry is dead! Brave wordcarver, your words are magic.
remember the grass is always greener...

John said...

I'm very glad to hear so many voices from the "let it grow" camp. I was a bit worried about the "It's people like you" group. So, thanks. Actually, I had a neighbor once--not this one--who, once he'd raked every leaf from his buzz-cut zoysia, would come out at intervals during the day and snatch up stragglers, one at a time. He'd put them in his pocket then and, reluctantly, go back inside. Sad...

pundy said...

The tone of this poem is just perfect.

Roberta said...

Oh I wish I still had a piece written my my friend Jack about how God laughs at us for mowing our perfectly good lawns.

I'll have to ask him to resend to me. It's hillarious!