Impatiently polite, imperious,
Our neighbors only just tolerated
The peculiar clan at cul-de-sac’s end.
We were insufficiently industrious
With lawn care, and our plot was at last rated
An eyesore. How, they wondered, could we spend
So much time sleeping, so little weeding:
Crabgrass spiked brown, dandelions spackled gold.
Of an old German barbarian born,
A sour, thin kid, moping, slouching, reading,
I’d gather bruised windfall apples and throw
Them over the hedge—a broadside launched with scorn
From our blue-shingled brigantine, square prow
Lodged in high grass, underneath long boughs.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 26 Number 2, on page 29
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