Art and Earth

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A MIDWESTERN BOY MOWS THE GREAT FIELDS OF THE REPUBLIC (Prose Poem by John Kropf)

 


I mow my third of an acre every weekend in concentric squares, growing smaller and smaller.  Instead why not mow outward, expanding farther and farther?  I imagine myself connected to the rest of the country by lawns.
My Briggs and Stratton powered walk behind mower would be my ship plying the nation’s rivers of grass.  I could push on to the next door neighbors, down the street to the next, and along the main road.
I would follow road east, to the west lawn of our Nation’s Capitol—the people’s lawn.  Feeling the vibration of the engine and the smell of the gas, I would mow it in a side to side pattern working my way up Capitol Hill.
To the northeast, I would mow both the tidy plots of Levittown to the Great Meadow of Central Park, to the blue lawns out of Gatsby’s Long Island estates.  Sprawling fields that stood for the wealth of an age.
I could mow all the way to the tidy town greens of New England.  Along the way, I’d stop by Emily Dickinson’s house to mow her yard because I think she would appreciate it though I don’t think her neighbor from a later time, Robert Frost, would allow it.
Down south, I would pay homage the to shrines of eighteen at Pinehurst and Augusta mowing their links to a fine and lustrous finish.  My mowing would be only to the frog hair of their greens but no further.
I would take as much care mowing the thick blue grass pastures of Kentucky to keep them plush enough to please the pampered thoroughbreds.
The rivers of lawn would carry my mower to the sprawling campuses of the large, land grant universities of the midwest, around their limestone halls and aged oaks.  Mowing onto the field of a great football coliseum, temples built to surround 100 yards of precisely marked and measured rectangles of lawn.  Every one of the 100,000 seats directed at my mowing.  Is it any wonder that artificial turf was soon abandoned and returned to grass and earth?  Where are the dreams in artificial turf?
I would look forward to mowing the lawns of memory—the lawns of modest Ohio towns.  The front yard boundaries neatly outlined but breaking free in backyards and escaping into cornfields and small clumps of forest.
I would mow my old front yard that was big enough for several seasons of neighborhood pick up football.  The yard where that I left in the dusk of an autumn evening to come inside stained with grass and dirt.  The grass that is mixed in my blood and my bones.
Mowing north, I’d stop at the cemetery in Lowell, Michigan and mow around the gravestones of my Grandmother and Grandfather, and the nearby granite statue the Civil War soldier for good measure.
The mowing would carry me through the north woods to world’s most perfect hill overlooking the western horizon of a great lake.  The blades here are stronger, able to survive the longer, colder winters but replenish the hill each summer with a green carpet that has absorbed all the ages of my bare feet.  A lawn that has given me a front row seat to watch approaching storms, sunsets, bonfires, northern lights and the Milky Way.
I’d follow the hearty lawns of the interstate medians west into Indiana and Illinois.  Tributaries of grass mowed by men on tractors protected by roll bars and sun umbrellas inhaling humid summer air spiced with asphalt and diesel.
There would be many little league fields to mow on my way to the lawn of Wrigley Field with its lush alternating textures arrayed in a diagonal pattern.
How far could the rivers of grass carry my mower west before the prairie grass gives way to the dirt and desert of the Badlands?
Like the Lewis and Clark of westward mowing, I would have to ford my mover to find the next navigable stream of grass.  Maybe there would be mowing again around the Little Big Horn where Custer and his men died on the lawn of Montana.
Possibly there could be some mowing done around the hoards of Bison and the winding banks of the Yellowstone River.
I don’t imagine much mowing needed in the Rockies or the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.  The mowing might pick up again around Sacramento and in other pockets of California taking me to the Pacific coast, over the cliffs and into the Ocean.
Alaska would be left to its pristine state but I’d like to see if my mower could could propel me over the Pacific to Hawaii and mow the green slopes of Mount Kilauea being careful to miss the pools of cooling lava.
I would be connected to the lawns of the great republic from sea to shining sea.
**************************************************************************************************************************************
Ann says: If you are interested in the true story of a man who rode his lawnmower cross-country, click here.
Copyright 2013 by John Kropf.
Image: Kari Stiansen at WordPress
A MIDWESTERN BOY MOWS THE GREAT FIELDS OF THE REPUBLIC (Prose Poem by John Kropf)
 

I mow my third of an acre every weekend in concentric squares, growing smaller and smaller.  Instead why not mow outward, expanding farther and farther?  I imagine myself connected to the rest of the country by lawns.


My Briggs and Stratton powered walk behind mower would be my ship plying the nation’s rivers of grass.  I could push on to the next door neighbors, down the street to the next, and along the main road.


I would follow road east, to the west lawn of our Nation’s Capitol—the people’s lawn.  Feeling the vibration of the engine and the smell of the gas, I would mow it in a side to side pattern working my way up Capitol Hill.


To the northeast, I would mow both the tidy plots of Levittown to the Great Meadow of Central Park, to the blue lawns out of Gatsby’s Long Island estates.  Sprawling fields that stood for the wealth of an age.


I could mow all the way to the tidy town greens of New England.  Along the way, I’d stop by Emily Dickinson’s house to mow her yard because I think she would appreciate it though I don’t think her neighbor from a later time, Robert Frost, would allow it.


Down south, I would pay homage the to shrines of eighteen at Pinehurst and Augusta mowing their links to a fine and lustrous finish.  My mowing would be only to the frog hair of their greens but no further.


I would take as much care mowing the thick blue grass pastures of Kentucky to keep them plush enough to please the pampered thoroughbreds.


The rivers of lawn would carry my mower to the sprawling campuses of the large, land grant universities of the midwest, around their limestone halls and aged oaks.  Mowing onto the field of a great football coliseum, temples built to surround 100 yards of precisely marked and measured rectangles of lawn.  Every one of the 100,000 seats directed at my mowing.  Is it any wonder that artificial turf was soon abandoned and returned to grass and earth?  Where are the dreams in artificial turf?


I would look forward to mowing the lawns of memory—the lawns of modest Ohio towns.  The front yard boundaries neatly outlined but breaking free in backyards and escaping into cornfields and small clumps of forest.

I would mow my old front yard that was big enough for several seasons of neighborhood pick up football.  The yard where that I left in the dusk of an autumn evening to come inside stained with grass and dirt.  The grass that is mixed in my blood and my bones.

Mowing north, I’d stop at the cemetery in Lowell, Michigan and mow around the gravestones of my Grandmother and Grandfather, and the nearby granite statue the Civil War soldier for good measure.

The mowing would carry me through the north woods to world’s most perfect hill overlooking the western horizon of a great lake.  The blades here are stronger, able to survive the longer, colder winters but replenish the hill each summer with a green carpet that has absorbed all the ages of my bare feet.  A lawn that has given me a front row seat to watch approaching storms, sunsets, bonfires, northern lights and the Milky Way.

I’d follow the hearty lawns of the interstate medians west into Indiana and Illinois.  Tributaries of grass mowed by men on tractors protected by roll bars and sun umbrellas inhaling humid summer air spiced with asphalt and diesel.

There would be many little league fields to mow on my way to the lawn of Wrigley Field with its lush alternating textures arrayed in a diagonal pattern.

How far could the rivers of grass carry my mower west before the prairie grass gives way to the dirt and desert of the Badlands?

Like the Lewis and Clark of westward mowing, I would have to ford my mover to find the next navigable stream of grass.  Maybe there would be mowing again around the Little Big Horn where Custer and his men died on the lawn of Montana.

Possibly there could be some mowing done around the hoards of Bison and the winding banks of the Yellowstone River.

I don’t imagine much mowing needed in the Rockies or the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.  The mowing might pick up again around Sacramento and in other pockets of California taking me to the Pacific coast, over the cliffs and into the Ocean.

Alaska would be left to its pristine state but I’d like to see if my mower could could propel me over the Pacific to Hawaii and mow the green slopes of Mount Kilauea being careful to miss the pools of cooling lava.

I would be connected to the lawns of the great republic from sea to shining sea.

**************************************************************************************************************************************

Ann says: If you are interested in the true story of a man who rode his lawnmower cross-country, click here.

Copyright 2013 by John Kropf.

Image: Kari Stiansen at WordPress

Filed under poem poems prose lit long-reads mowing lawnmowing men summer yards landscaping allergory patriots USA history john kropf

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