A Poesy on the Borders of Poetry for a Year on the Verge of Spring:
Spring has started to crack through here in Indiana. The sun’s come through the clouds, the snow melts, and we can see patches of green grass that have survived the winter.
In honor of spring, I give you a poem I wrote a few years back, inspired by a spiritual moment I had while hacking and cursing the dandelions. As you will see, hack is the mot juste.
The earth is God’s, and all that’s green therein.
Prayed Zenos therefore not while in his fields
to ward from him temptation unto sin.
Blessed he God’s works, his work, and their joint yields.
No grains. Mere grass for me. I heave the dan-
delions up and pray. I thank that Man
was made to pull and weeds to grow, that I
and they in this are pleasing to His eye.
Hoe up, hoe down! The loam to heaven flies’
Ah, grass! Ah, weed! how beautiful and wise
Ah, earth! Oh, sky! is He who hears my cries.
The silence of the labored land replies:
Praise God above from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him His works, ye creatures here below.
I’m generally pleased with the poem, especially the last six lines or so with its unexpected ascent into the Doxology. I feel like I’ve taken my one talent and gotten a six-percent, after tax, compounded yield. Given some time, my one talent will be two.
The poem suffers mightily from doing too much in too little space. The rhyme and rhythm of the sonnet form are strangeness enough without me trying to force in two fairly strange ideas: one, the God-service and the pleasingness of both Nature thriving and Man disliking the results and fighting to reshape. Two, the beauty and high spirituality of suburban drudge lawn maintenance. Both would do better with more exposition. Odd ideas need to be eased in lest the oddness overwhelms the content, or, worse yet, lest a body not even be able to tell what the content is.
On top of that, the first stanza does little or nothing towards the rest of the poem, so I end up trying to fit two unusual sentiments into an already structured 8-10 lines.