The poetry of earth is never dead.
That’s John Keats, from On the Grasshopper and the Cricket. He might have added: And she is mean with a metaphor.
Sometimes I think I’d like to go for a walk in the evening and get away from the world’s insoluble problems, but when I reach the outskirts of my Midwestern town–that place where the last developed lot meets the prairie–all I can think about is border security.
And we’ve got border troubles, too. Just try keeping a lawn (and we do care about our lawns here!) next to an open field.
Now, I do realize that this metaphor could get me in trouble. Please know this: Grass and wildflowers (call them weeds, if you like) are all the same to me. Just plants as far as I’m concerned. And, anyway, my interest is not in the arguable value of one plant over another, but in the viability of the border that aims to keep them separate.
You have to admit that nature seems to want them to mix, to prefer a melting pot. No matter what the surveyor says, plants go where they please. Nature just doesn’t recognize our boundaries.
So we fight back with quiet chemical warfare. We arm and fortify ourselves with fertilizers and weedkillers, poisoning our own yard in a desperate attempt to hold on to it.
I’m tired of it. Tired of the artificiality, the hopelessness of all borders.
So, what exactly in the way of policy am I proposing? I’m not, really.
I just want you to see the border the way I do. For a moment.
And when you think about your yard (and our larger metaphorical yard), I hope you will (for a moment) hear the words of the poet, Yehuda Amichai:
Let it come
suddenly, because the field
must have it: wildpeace.