Peter Smith: The eternal struggle over mowing the lawn

Commentator Peter Smith
Essayist Peter Smith.
MPR Photo/Sarah Fleener

Given the forecast, today is the perfect day to get your lawn mowed. That doesn't mean it's going to happen. Parents and teenagers across the state will battle over the urgency of this chore. The adults want it done today. The kids are happy to let it go a day or two longer. Minnesota Public Radio essayist Peter Smith has captured the essence of this eternal struggle in a poem.

I'm your father. You're my son.
The bond is sure and strong.
I feed and clothe and house you.
You're supposed to mow the lawn.

It's what I pay allowance for,
I've paid it all along.
I've paid and paid and paid and paid.
Please go and mow the lawn.

You're a member of the family,
So show us you belong.
Stop the texting. Pause the game.
Go and mow the lawn.

It's not too hot. The gas tank's full.
Your last excuse is gone.
Don't put it off. The time has come.
Please go and mow the lawn.

The neighbors doubt our parenting.
They wonder what went wrong.
How did we raise the kind of boy
Who just won't mow the lawn?

Someday soon you'll get a car.
You'll drive off. You'll be gone.
And as you do I'll yell after you,
"Come back and mow the lawn."

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