American Life in Poetry: Column 050

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

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.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Reprinted from the literary journal, Lake Effect, Volume 8, Spring 2004 by permission of the author. Copyright © 2004 by Grace Bauer, whose new book, Beholding Eye, is forthcoming from Wordtech Communications in 2006. Introduction copyright © 2017 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.