“Mowing”: An Homage to Robert Frost, on the Occasion of His Birthday

Today (March 26) is Robert Frost’s birthday. (This “modern” poet was born only nine years after the conclusion of the Civil War. History is bizarre.)

A while back, I started working on a light-hearted homage to Frost’s poem “Mowing.” I share it here in honor of the day.

First, Frost’s poem:

There was never a sound beside the wood but one,
And that was my long scythe whispering to the ground.
What was it it whispered? I knew not well myself;
Perhaps it was something about the heat of the sun,
Something, perhaps, about the lack of sound—
And that was why it whispered and did not speak.
It was no dream of the gift of idle hours,
Or easy gold at the hand of fay or elf:
Anything more than the truth would have seemed too weak
To the earnest love that laid the swale in rows,
Not without feeble-pointed spikes of flowers
(Pale orchises), and scared a bright green snake.
The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows.
My long scythe whispered and left the hay to make.

Now, here is mine:

ritu τοῦ Ροβῆρου τοῦ κρυσταλλοπῆγος

“CR’s experts cut 450,000 square feet of grass to develop this year’s list of the best mowers you can buy right now.” — Consumer Reports 

There was always a sound beside the house, just one,
My thrumming Cub Cadet upon the ground.
It did not whisper, no — my neighbors knew.
It sputtered, grumbling, in the quivering heat,
And spilling golden drops of aqueous Hamm’s.
Its deafening drum made speech an idle act
as I would idle in the yard, the gift
Of solitude. There were no elves or sprites,
Though once a squirrel did drop a chestnut
On my head, as I in reverie rode the green 
rows down — and, inattentive, minced some flowers
(Orange tulips) all in bloom. Alas! But still:
To ride my Cub Cadet in such repose
must be the sweetest dream that labor knows.


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