Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, KEEPING THINGS NEAT, by WALT MASON



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KEEPING THINGS NEAT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: You plant a rosebush by your door, and
Last Line: Hide.
Subject(s): Admiration; Cleanliness; Gardens & Gardening; Housekeeping; Neighbors; Tools


YOU plant a rosebush by your door, and morning glories three or four; you mow
the lawn when whiskers green upon its countenance are seen; you take the dead
cats to the dump, and fix the fence and paint the pump; and trim the figtree and

the vine, and make the doorknob fairly shine. And neighbors who have gone to
seed, whose lots are grown to grass and weed, will soon or late observe your
game, and feel a burning sense of shame. They'll say, "That fellow's place, so
neat, is quite the smoothest on the street; it makes ours look like also-rans,
so we'll adopt that smarty's plans, and prove to him that other jays can well
deserve the public praise." I've seen a neighborhood that lay all ragged, gone
to brush and hay, brace up and bloom to beat the band because some pilgrim,
tools in hand, cleaned up his lawn and pruned his trees, and bought some flowers

and bumblebees. Thus good examples spur the souls of men who've crawled into
their holes, content to let the whole world slide, the tail connected with the
hide.





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