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For A Row Of Laurel Shrubs Analysis



Author: poem of David Wagoner Type: poem Views: 22

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They don't want to be your hedge,


     Your barrier, your living wall, the no-go


          Go-between between your property


And the prying of dogs and strangers. They don't





     Want to settle any of your old squabbles


          Inside or out of bounds. Their new growth


In three-foot shoots goes thrusting straight


     Up in the air each April or goes off





          Half-cocked sideways to reconnoiter


Wilder dimensions: the very idea


     Of squareness, of staying level seems


          Alien to them, and they aren't in the least





Discouraged by being suddenly lopped off


     Year after year by clippers or the stuttering


          Electric teeth of trimmers hedging their bets


To keep them all in line, all roughly





     In order. They don't even


          Want to be good-neighborly bushes


(Though under the outer stems and leaves


     The thick, thick-headed, soot-blackened





          Elderly branches have been dodging


And weaving through so many disastrous springs,


     So many whacked-out, contra-


          Dictory changes of direction, they've locked





Themselves together for good). Yet each


     Original planting, left to itself, would be


          No fence, no partition, no crook-jointed


Entanglement, but a tree by now outspread





     With all of itself turned upward at every


          Inconvenient angle you can imagine,


And look, on the ground, the fallen leaves,


     Brown, leathery, as thick as tongues, remain





          Almost what they were, tougher than ever,


Slow to molder, to give in, dead slow to feed


     The earth with themselves, there at the feet


          Of their fathers in the evergreen shade





Of their replacements. Remember, admirers


     Long ago would sometimes weave fresh clippings


          Into crowns and place them squarely on the heads


Of their most peculiar poets.






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