EPIC Poetry Group: Poet’s Corner — Lawn Mower Memories, Saint Louisa, Banishing the Monsters

Here is the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.

Lawn Mower Memories

Those damned monstrosities

God-awful contraptions

Dad described as “lawn mowers”

To me they were

The ultimate in torture devices

Designed to betray, frustrate

And totally resist my every attempt

To mow our sizeable lawn


Never a slick, shiny Toro or Craftsman

Always some dirt- and oil-encrusted

Prehistoric jury-rigged Frankenstein

Part mower but mostly

Mismatched belts, wheels and

One smoke-belching motor

Scary to behold

Almost impossible to fire up


Roughly 32% 0f the time

My 3-step starting routine proved successful

1) Laborious hand-cranking

2) Profuse sweating

3) Intense swearing

Then any number of Stage 2 Malfunctions could arise

Including, but not limited to, slipping gears,

Jamming blades or reels

Gurgling, gasping engine failures

Often in rapid succession

Returning me with increased anger

And decreased hope

To the dreaded starting (or not) stage


How many times I retreated

Defeated and exhausted

From some dead, smoldering scrapheap

Mired in the vibrant green bog

That our pasturage had become

Only the Gods of Mowing can know

I’d estimate hundreds, possibly thousands

Of wasted, clipping- littered afternoons

Dotting the days of my wasted youth


Oddly perhaps

And despite what Dad believed

Yet never actually said to me

(“I can’t get it started again” really means

“Tommy hates mowing the lawn…”)

I LOVED lawn-mowing

Craved that special joy of seeing

Row after row of shaggy grass

Laid evenly, lovingly low

Smelling freshly mown blades

As they covered work shoes and rolled-up cuffs

Of my grass-stained Levis


My $5 a week, 5-hour job behind a quality machine

At Ben Jensen’s Dairy Farm

Provided sublime mowing experiences

Week after wonderful, summertime week


I was the proud craftsman

Piloting a flaming red

22-inch 4 ½ horsepower

Toro ReelMaster Supreme


These days, many summers removed

From those unforgettable green expanses

Still I love my precious turns

Always behind the latest top-of-the-line model

My friends at Toro can provide

Tom Fortin

~ ~ ~ ~

Saint Louisa:  Patron Saint of Procrastinators

So often in my times of need

Have I invoked you, seeking your ethereal aid

Always you respond, albeit belatedly

Who would expect otherwise?


Ever wise in your counsel you guide me

One halting step at a time

Climbing that stairway to a reasonable heaven

I hesitate, pause to reconsider


Yet you are unrelenting in your urgings

Demanding that I snap out of it

Measure up

Take another stab at….whatever


You answer all entreaties faithfully

Sagely and firmly propelling me

Eventually I will find my circuitous way

“When?” the only question

Tom Fortin

~ ~ ~ ~

Banishing the Monsters

I never had trouble when I was a kid

With monsters who hid ‘neath my comfortable bed

But now in my old age those creatures appear

Lodged deep in my kidneys instead


They gather for months in their little mean groups

Laying plans for their journeys of pain

They all run amok ‘til a couple get stuck

And I’m back in the E.R. again


Some meds do the trick and the ache is gone quick

Plus my docs have some tricks up their sleeves

Aiming sweet ultrasounds at each mass that they’ve found

All my symptoms they swiftly relieve


My story ends happily thanks to my docs

And also to medical science

If more monsters come, pills will render them numb

On their mercies I’m forever reliant.

Tom Fortin

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

About the poet:

I’m a longtime, retired high school and community college teacher with plenty of time now for “Fooling with Words.” My active interest in creating my own poetry was launched by that Bill Moyers-titled PBS series in 1998. And lately I enjoy becoming more public with my poetic attempts.

I love my present Lynnwood/Edmonds/Sno-King life. The vibrant artistic climate surrounding us here today fills my heart — and my poetic spirit — to overflowing.


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