American Life in Poetry: Column 050


Thousands of Americans fret over the appearance
of their lawns, spraying, aerating, grooming, but
here Grace Bauer finds good reasons to resist

the impulse to tame what's wild: the white of clover
blossoms under a streetlight, the possibility of finding
the hidden, lucky, four-leafed rarity.

Against Lawn

The midnight streetlight illuminating
the white of clover assures me

I am right not to manicure
my patch of grass into a dull

carpet of uniform green, but
to allow whatever will to take over.

Somewhere in that lace lies luck,
though I may never swoop down

to find it. Three, too, is
an auspicious number. And this seeing

a reminder to avoid too much taming
of what, even here, wants to be wild.

Reprinted from the literary journal, "Lake Effect,"
Volume 8, Spring 2004 by permission of the author.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Grace Bauer, whose new book,
"Beholding Eye," is forthcoming from Wordtech
Communications in 2006. This weekly column is
supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library
of Congress, and the Department of English at the
University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does
not accept unsolicited poetry.