Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summer of Dreams


The neighbors hate me
because I plowed up our lawn
with an old mule —
an out-of-work friend of mine
dropped in to visit from a former life,
too tired and set in his ways
to retrain for a career in high-tech.

The lawn went under
in the warm, sacred afternoon.
We cut our paces in an easy rhythm,
to a quiet beat of tranquility
and forgetfulness,
while the atmosphere rumbled
with aromatic earth-song,
calling the birds,
calling the insects,
making the dogs bark —
the poor hobbled creatures
tied to pegs with dung-encrusted rope,
wide-eyed and desperate
for companionship.

We sank rejoicing to our knees
in the mellow-brown soil,
to the sound of slamming doors
and neighbors clearing their throats.
Hands on hips, not one of them
could fathom our joy,
confident there was a law against
plowing up one’s front lawn
and that a word with City Hall
would net them satisfaction.

I was visited once by a man
in a pickup with a logo on its side.
We chatted amiably.
Later that week I planted corn.
Now the tall stalks rustle in the breeze,
the mule sleeps in the shade,
and clouds of hostility brood
over driveways, garbage cans, fences.


From Collected Poems. First appeared many years ago in Barbaric Yawp.

6 comments:

all ways 11 o'clock said...

Hoooooray for the radicals who
see the beauty of a breeze
through golden stalks,
for giving shade to another
and satisfaction in knowing they are just a little different.

Great poem William.

~robert

William Michaelian said...

And hoooooray for your kind reception, Robert. I like the idea of being different together, like a couple of spiny weeds threatening to undermine the front step. Give us time, give us time.

Jim Murdoch said...

I never had that ‘burbs mentality but I was still never one to unnecessarily ruffle feathers and that attitude held me back for years. There are too many people out there who believe that life can only be fully appreciated if it’s lived according to rules agreed by committee: a poem has to rhyme, a symphony has to have four movements and painting has to look like something. It’s tiresome. Good poem. Enjoyed it.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Jim, I appreciate it. Indeed, coloring outside the lines is perceived as a threat by those who, in their quiet desperation, would control everything in their lives.

erin said...

i smile. let's undo them!

a few days ago i said to my children, let's get two chickens. my daughter, can we in town? me, why the heck not? she, then goats! i want goats! my son, why not a cow?

we rode the back roads the dirt kicking up, reminding us of more real things. yes, two chickens. why the heck not?

(and so the other side of this is such a sadness for if they can not see the joy - where are their eyes?)

plow on, dear friend. keep on plowing.

xo
erin

William Michaelian said...

Priceless, Erin, and maybe not so sad, joy and joy again. I could scratch through a pile of fresh lawn clippings right now, by gum. I feel it myself.