Long grass leads to long sentence

“Makes a long time man feel bad,” says the song (sung brilliantly by Ian and Sylvia), referring to jail time.

If this is true, residents in Canton, Ohio who don’t mow their lawns will be feeling bad. Just last spring, the city council approved 30 days’ jail time for home owners who don’t meet the city mowing ordinance. We saw it first in September’s Harper’s Index, (not yet available online) but you can also read the original article in Canton’s local paper, The Repository. And then there’s the AP version, available on YouTube:

Bloggers all over the place have been having a ball with this. —– EXTENDED BODY: —– EXCERPT: —– KEYWORDS: —– COMMENT: AUTHOR: inadveinadvertentfarmer EMAIL: sweetgraceboutique@hotmail.com IP: 65.183.205.58 URL: http://sweetgrace.typepad.com/the_inadvertent_farmer/ DATE: 11/04/2008 09:28:13 AM What in the name of a free country is happening? They would lock me up and throw away the key if they saw my grass. —– COMMENT: AUTHOR: alan EMAIL: roberts.ecofarm@gmail.com IP: 71.171.211.180 URL: http://www.robertsroostecofarm.com/ DATE: 11/04/2008 12:51:51 PM Good thing we are south of Canton! Don’t know how many years I’d be in jail if they saw my lawn. It looks especially nice when the goats are doing most of the mowing, not just long, randomly long. It’s kind of the Chaos theory of lawn care, and I’m sure they would (or will) lock me up for it. —– COMMENT: AUTHOR: Philip EMAIL: philipbewley@gmail.com IP: 173.8.131.204 URL: http://www.philipsgardenblog.com DATE: 11/04/2008 03:04:34 PM Time to rip out the lawn! —– COMMENT: AUTHOR: Yolanda Elizabet EMAIL: yolandaheuzen@zonnet.nl IP: 84.81.2.168 URL: http://blissyo-elgarden.blogspot.com/ DATE: 11/04/2008 03:22:07 PM What is it with Americans and their lawns? Are they completely off their birk? —– COMMENT: AUTHOR: themanicgardener EMAIL: themanicgardener@gmail.com IP: 64.79.45.27 URL: http://themanicgardener.com DATE: 11/05/2008 12:09:54 PM Well, inadvertentfarmer, then I hope they can’t see it. Alan–Ah, but they’re coming your way! (Spooky music…) PhilipYes. Yolanda, they’re all wishing they could live in western Europe where grass makes sense, I guess. It’s nuts. –Kate —– COMMENT: AUTHOR: Blackswampgirl Kim EMAIL: blackswampgirl@yahoo.com IP: 76.244.20.215 URL: http://blackswampgirl.blogspot.com DATE: 11/05/2008 09:18:20 PM I am laughing… because Yolanda Elizabet is asking if we Americans are off our rockers, being so nuts about our lawns. And my neighbors here think that I am crazy, replacing my “lawn” with ornamental grasses and other plants. The American obsession with putting-green lawns is horrendous enough already without LAWS passed to regulate and almost require that obsessions, IMHO. Ugh. —– COMMENT: AUTHOR: alan EMAIL: roberts.ecofarm@gmail.com IP: 71.171.246.126 URL: http://www.robertsroostecofarm.com/ DATE: 11/06/2008 06:11:39 PM You’ll have to check out my latest lawn mower. Grass powered like the rest. She really likes the lawn. Perhaps I can get it in shape before the lawn police get me. —– COMMENT: AUTHOR: emma t EMAIL: anicegreenleaf@hotmail.com IP: 92.40.77.6 URL: http://swiftforsure.blogspot.com/ DATE: 11/07/2008 04:11:57 PM OMG! OMG!! OMG!!! Land of the Free!!!!!!!!! —– COMMENT: AUTHOR: themanicgardener EMAIL: themanicgardener@gmail.com IP: 64.79.45.27 URL: http://themanicgardener.com DATE: 11/07/2008 05:40:14 PM Kim–I know. The laws should go the other way. Alan–Someone in a town near us got slapped for his grass-powered lawn-mower. Go figure. Emma–Yeah, yeah (in a strong New York accent, that is: Yeeah, yeeah–) –Kate —– COMMENT: AUTHOR: Muddy Mary EMAIL: marekale@yahoo.com IP: 98.201.151.216 URL: http://bayoucitygarden.blogspot.com/ DATE: 11/11/2008 08:05:43 PM I rather liked the dandelions and fronds of grass seeds. —– ——– AUTHOR: themanicgardner TITLE: Monday Muse: “To a Leaf Falling in Winter” STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CONVERT BREAKS: wysiwyg ALLOW PINGS: 1 BASENAME: monday-muse-to-a-leaf-falling-in-winter CATEGORY: Poetry DATE: 11/03/2008 12:20:00 AM —– BODY:

Some of you will recognize this as the poem Garrison Keillor read for the Writer's Almanac yesterday morning. I don't like how Keillor reads, but this struck me nonetheless.

To a Leaf Falling in Winter

by W. S. Merwin

At sundown when a day's words
have gathered at the feet of the trees
lining up in silence
to enter the long corridors
of the roots into which they
pass one by one thinking
that they remember the place
as they feel themselves climbing
away from their only sound
while they are being forgotten
by their bright circumstances
they rise through all of the rings
listening again
afterward as they
listened once and they come
to where the leaves used to live
during their lives but have gone now
and they too take the next step
beyond the reach of meaning

"To a Leaf Falling in Winter" by W.S. Merwin from Present Company. © Copper Canyon Press, 2007.

8 Responses to Long grass leads to long sentence

  1. Very nice–I like Merwin.
    What don’t you like about how Keillor reads?

  2. Does Keillor read differently on the ‘Writer’s Almanac’? We lurrrrrve him in ‘Prairie Home Companion’.

  3. I like Keillor too. I don’t mind his voice and would like to hear him talk about the trees. His voice is kinda slow drone Autumn falling leaves kind of tone anyway. He couldn’t be a breaking news anchor or we’d never know when to be afraid, worried, or take action. We’d think–well if Keillor isn’t upset about it, then why should we be upset?

  4. I seem to have hit a nerve. Keillor should hire you three. (Maybe he already has?)
    Let me be clear: I LOVE Keillor, who’d get my vote for person who’s contributed most (in a good way, mind you) to American culture (such as it is) over the past quarter century.
    HOWEVER, then there’s his reading of poetry. It didn’t used to bother me, even after a friend (a poet) claimed he read badly. (She doesn’t mince words, in spite of her poem about being a word whore. Which I suppose makes both points.) Back to mine.
    Then I heard him read a poem I know well, e.e. cummings’ “she being Brand” (the marvelous one about a car–or is it a woman?–is there a difference in the U.S.?) and found myself squirming with discomfort.
    So there you have it. Are we still friends?
    Assuming we are, I’ll add that yes, Susan, Merwin is always good.
    VP, how come you can get Prairie Home Companion in Britain, and my folks can’t in Canada? (They tell me that Canada blocks at least some U.S. radio. Sounds like something the U.S. would do, frankly.)
    Anna, you’re dead on target. So funny.
    –Kate

  5. Ah Merwin, one of my influences, one of the big guns. I once went to a reading and he signed my book and I was on SUCH a high the next few days. That’s grace right there. As for Keillor, I hate the way he reads poems, too. Love it when he comes to down and I sit in a theater full of old people, though, listenign to his “stories.”

  6. Garrison Keillor rocks!
    I enjoyed this poem.
    Regards,
    Philip

  7. A poem by Merwin, wonderful! His endings are always gorgeous.
    If you haven’t already read’Words From A Totem Animal’ I recommend it.

  8. Oy, Benjamin, the Merwin moment sounds like one of those He-shook-my-hand-I’m-not-going-to-wash-it-for-a-week things. (I totally get it.) And I, too, LOVE seeing Keillor live, which we did in, get this, “the historic Fitzgeral Theater in downtown St. Paul.”
    Philip–Definitely. I think we should send Keillor a collective letter informing him that he rocks.
    Anne–Oh my. Someone ELSE who knows her poets. How cool is that? How’m I gonna keep up this facade any longer? And no, I don’t know that poem–something new for the weekend. Thank you.
    –Kate

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