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Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's October!!

Hard to believe, it's already October. Good news: it's time for some poetry. Even better, it's time for Robert Frost! Pick 3 of his poems to read (your choice) and be sure to read these 3 as well, for a total of 6 poems. Then come back to the blog and leave some comments. I will have some conversation starters on the blog soon.
*
Birches
When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust--
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
(Now am I free to be poetical?)
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows--
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Reluctance
Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question "Whither?"

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

2 comments:

gigi said...

Tis the month of grace! I feel exhilarated! I am half-way through the reading for Oct - via your blog. And I found on my own bookshelf - the "Comprehensive Anthology of American Poetry". Lo and behold, it contains Robert Frost's poetry. Now I shall choose my other three poems and finally complete (1) book club reading. I will post comments later, but I am on my way at last!

fthluvhope said...

Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets! However, I must confess that I am only familiar with his more popular poems... so it was nice to breeze through his book of poetry and long narratives.

"THE ROAD NOT TAKEN" is my all-time favorite and I am blessed to get to teach it to my 9th graders (usually in April). But how appropriate as we are on the cusp of Fall that we get to journey with him in the "yellow" wood. I love that one word gives so many images and hints to season/weather, etc. I always use this poem as an allusion to the "narrow" road to heaven. I also like to mention that one has choices in life and one must always be confident in their decisions in order to look back with peace and contentment. What a shame to ask "what if" at the end... or to realize that your road took you no where. There is an Ansel Adams print of a dirt road that I should turn into art with this poem. I will post it on facebook. I love the art and now that I think of the imagery of this poem, it fits it beautifully! I also got a nice wood sign for my backyard with the last line on it. It makes me smile each time I think about the road I travelled to get to Brian and Tahlequah and being a teacher, and above all, to Jesus.

Here are the three that I picked:

1.) "SPRING POOLS"

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods---
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

*I really like the imagery in this poem... Frost was such a mountain/nature man! :) It is almost as one would enjoy his poetry that much more if he or she was sitting outside.

2.) "THE DUST OF SNOW"

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

*This is a really simple poem and I picked it because my literature book uses it to teach meter. I like the phrase "dust of snow."

3.) "FIRE AND ICE"

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

*A very profound poem that I also get to teach my 9th graders! They usually first understand the poem as the physical destructive elements of fire and ice. However, after talking about the "hidden, deeper, meaning" of the words they understand that hatred and passion are just as strong. Yes, the world can end in hatred! That FIREy passion to do wrong. Yes, the world can end in ICE-- the cold disposition of not caring.

4.) "THE SOUND OF TREES"
I WONDER about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.

*So I picked this one because of the title... who said you can't pick a poem by it's cover? ;)