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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Clairvoyant Commentary of Robert Frost on My Life

I have a new favorite poem for this one snapshot moment of time in my life.
I found it today, completely by accident. At lunchtime, I often read poetry or stories to my 5 year old while she eats. Today, the collection of Robert Frost poems was out, because the 13 year old is learning one for school.

As I browsed and read, my little one insisted that I was choosing poems that were too short. "Pick a longer one!" she demanded. So, thankful for her growing attention span, I just opened up to this one. And it's all about me and my life right now. Mr. Frost, how did you know?

Good-by and Keep Cold

This saying good-by on the edge of the dark
And the cold to an orchard so young in the bark
Reminds me of all that can happen to harm
An orchard away at the end of the farm
All winter,  cut off by a hill from the house.
I don't want it girdled by rabbit and mouse,
I don't want it dreamily nibbled for browse
By deer, and I don't want it budded by grouse.
(If certain it wouldn't be idle to call
I'd summon grouse, rabbit, and deer to the wall
And warn them away with a stick for a gun.)
I don't want it stirred by the heat of the sun.

(We made it secure against being, I hope,
By setting it out on a northerly slope.)

No orchard's the worse for the wintriest storm;
But one thing about it, it mustn't get warm.
"How often already you've had to be told,
Keep cold, young orchard. Good-by and keep cold.
Dread fifty above more than fifty below."
I have to be gone for a season or so.

My business awhile is with different trees,
Less carefully nurtured, less fruitful than these,
And such as is done to their wood with an ax--
Maples and birches and tamaracks.

I wish I could promise to lie in the night
And think of an orchard's arboreal plight
When slowly (and nobody comes with a light)
Its heart sinks lower under the sod.
But something has to be left to God.

--Robert Frost

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