I had a neighbor years ago,
Whose name I can't remember,
Who manicured his front yard
From April to November.
He'd clip all errant leaves and sprouts.
He'd dig and yank with an aim to
Unearth every wayward weed
From turf it had no claim to.
He watered and he fertilized;
He transplanted and he pruned.
He placed seedlings into little holes,
Where plant food had been spooned.
His yard, a verdant masterpiece,
Was it impressive? Very.
Compared to it, all other yards
Were only ordinary.
A rustic bench sat in its midst
Within a miniature bower.
A perfect spot to sit and muse
And pass a fragrant hour.
But sitting there was not allowed,
For a tender shoot might meet
The dismal fate imparted by
A sitter's clumsy feet.
Thus the yard kept its perfection
By means of a stern dictate
That, like a museum painting,
It was there to contemplate.
Neighbor and yard are both gone now,
But they well illustrate the rule
That when art becomes compulsion,
The artist becomes a fool.