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Good Fences

Something there is that doesn’t love a golf ball,
That sends it arching off the course and into my backyard
and hides it in a crop of myrtle or a cluster of ivy
just where the golfers make a gap two can pass through.
The work of groundskeepers is another thing.
I have come after them and thrown a dozen balls back into their course 
rather than let them try to sprout amongst my flowerbeds.
In the season of re-greening, we find them hiding there
after the harsh winter has stripped the leaves
and brought the pock-marked orbs to view
like so many Easter eggs.
Come spring, I call the green’s keeper and 
together we clear out the work of his worst golfers
who cannot hit a tiny plastic ball to within 200 feet of center line.
Sometimes we find bent clubs and other indicators
that the course he sets is a perilous sort of recreation
for bedazzled office workers and frustrated accountants.
Oh, it just comes to another sort of outdoor game.
One on each side; it adds up to little more.
He is all manicured green, while I am wooded flower beds.
Spring brings out the mischief in us both.
“Good fences make good neighbors,” 
he says barely thinking of what his words mean.
“Why do they make good neighbors?” 
I reply, trying hard to be polite.
It irks me to have to clean up after careless golfers.
But he refuses to go behind his father’s saying
And just repeats, standing in the shade of my trees
newly branched out with a fresh crop of leaves,
“good fences make good neighbors.”

Copyright © 2003 Gary Lehmann


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