Posts Tagged ‘Robert Frost’

There is always some room for Frost in Spring.

Robert Frost, that is.

Here is one of his poems, recently featured on The Writer’s Almanac. I find it fitting as we come to the end of National Poetry Month.

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

A Prayer in Spring
by Robert Frost


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IMG_6044The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.

– From the poem Two Tramps in Mudtime”  by Robert Frost

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DSCN6424The leaves are falling fast and furiously here on the Cutoff. With a wind advisory for tomorrow and a slight chance (please let it be slight) of snow, the trees hereabouts will be skeletons of their summer selves for Halloween, so, indulge me, dear reader, as I share one last post of October’s leafy splendor.

These verses are from one of my favorite poems of Robert Frost’s. It is one I’ve posted before. I offer it up once again as we bid farewell to what has been a resplendent fall season.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
 From Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost




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DSCN3678The icy air assaulted us as we bid farewell on Michigan Ave. It was a frigid day with  a -8°F wind chill factor. Not a day to be out for the faint of heart, but, we Midwesterners are not the type to swoon over snow and cold. We sally forth with our heads bent to the wind and off we go.

I decided to walk back to Northwestern Station, bidding goodbye to my friends who were heading to the Ogilvie Center for their train after an inspiring lecture, lunch, and the visual excitement that permeates the Art Institute of Chicago. I needed to walk for the exercise. I wanted to walk for a window display that caught my eye earlier.

The walk west on Adams skirts the financial district. Not necessarily an area known for holiday window displays. State Street. Michigan Ave. They are the streets where extravagant visions are a feast for the eyes come December.

Still, something caught my eye, and when a vision  captures my imagination, dear reader, you may know that it captures my heart as well and I’m not usually deterred.

On the corner of what I believe is the Home Insurance Building, windows, lining south and west, held masculine forms that were clad in the most properly arrayed displays of tweed and tartan and wool. Sophisticated dioramas of the aristocratic set, with a dusting of snow and the branches of birches amid silver and leather, wicker and wood.

As the wind was having its way with me, I bent my head to thwart its assault and there, hung low along the plate panes,  were the words of my most favored poem;  Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost.

“Whose woods these are I think I know” were carved in the panes as if etched by a diamond on glass.

“He gives his harness bells a shake . . . ” and there, I swear, was a strop of bells.

My friend, I walked the windows, a bellman at the neighboring Marriott tipping his hat at my determination, and then, bracing against the wind coming round from the Chicago River, trudged to my train, and the miles I had yet to go before home.

Settled into my seat, warmer, I reached into my purse, and discovered my camera. I held it in my hand, just in case a picture came, and it did as the train rolled along its long track, covering the miles toward home.

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Ah, yes; one could do worse. One could be a randy buck, bent on leaving his markings, scraping his rack on a river birch.


We have had this problem before. One year, our Harry Lauder Walking Stick locked horns with a stately stag. The stag won. Old Harry Lauder is but a shell of himself these days.

Another year, not long about having its roots firmly set in the soil, a crabapple, commonly referred to here on the Cutoff as Kezzie’s tree, was the object of jousting during the rut.  Thankfully, it made it through the first winter and this year is covered in fruit.

It was a pleasant afternoon’s saunter to the mailbox that alerted me to the latest antler attack. The afternoon sun was glowing on the bark of the river birch, and a deep red haze appeared. It looked like blood.  Oh dear, thought I, the boys are out and about already, marking their territory, the Don Quixotes of Deerdom.

Tom, aka the antler man, quickly got out the stakes and fencing, protecting his own kingdom of trees.

So it goes, here on the Cutoff, as autumn takes a firm hold and the deer and the antelope play havoc on our wooded domain.



* From “Birches” by Robert Frost

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Two Look at Two

I see him now, often; roaming silently through the brush. Looking out the kitchen windows as I start dinner. Reading the mail. I catch sight of the long tips of the now full rack blending with the barren tips of the tree branches. Often, a doe, rushing past, is the first clue that he, or a brother, is nearby. This king of our little forest is the one I wanted to see, however. Thursday, I finally saw him. Close. Eight points, at least. He was there, in sight,  right off the deck, then behind the garage – just as Tom was coming in the door.

“Buck” I shouted, floundering for my camera. “Big Buck”.

Tom looked at me for an instant, not quite sure what I was saying, then turned. A few yards away, the king of our little forest walked, majestically, past our arbor, in hot pursuit of his mate.

There we were, like Donner and Blitzen, rushing across our drive and into our neighbors’ yard, in equally hot pursuit of the buck. Most of the herd was out, the boys either resting on the ground or off to side, the girls in high anticipation.

We mostly watched him, the king, and we knew him; the Christmas buck of two years past. He had survived! There is now an almost imperceptible limp of the injured leg. Just enough for us to know, it is him. I invite you to read the story of the late night drama in late December that played out in our front yard  to fully understand our excitement at seeing this royal creature again. Be assured,, his rack is kingly, his gait imposing, especially with his slight hesitation. The story is here.

If you click on the pictures twice you can see him. I’m sure he’ll be back, as I’m sure Antler Man will be looking, soon, for the antler sheds.

Two Look at Two by Robert Frost

Love and forgetting might have carried them
A little further up the mountain side
With night so near, but not much further up.
They must have halted soon in any case
With thoughts of a path back, how rough it was
With rock and washout, and unsafe in darkness;
When they were halted by a tumbled wall
With barbed-wire binding. They stood facing this,
Spending what onward impulse they still had
In One last look the way they must not go,
On up the failing path, where, if a stone
Or earthslide moved at night, it moved itself;
No footstep moved it. ‘This is all,’ they sighed,
Good-night to woods.’ But not so; there was more.
A doe from round a spruce stood looking at them
Across the wall, as near the wall as they.
She saw them in their field, they her in hers.
The difficulty of seeing what stood still,
Like some up-ended boulder split in two,
Was in her clouded eyes; they saw no fear there.
She seemed to think that two thus they were safe.
Then, as if they were something that, though strange,
She could not trouble her mind with too long,
She sighed and passed unscared along the wall.
‘This, then, is all. What more is there to ask?’
But no, not yet. A snort to bid them wait.
A buck from round the spruce stood looking at them
Across the wall as near the wall as they.
This was an antlered buck of lusty nostril,
Not the same doe come back into her place.
He viewed them quizzically with jerks of head,
As if to ask, ‘Why don’t you make some motion?
Or give some sign of life? Because you can’t.
I doubt if you’re as living as you look.”
Thus till he had them almost feeling dared
To stretch a proffering hand — and a spell-breaking.
Then he too passed unscared along the wall.
Two had seen two, whichever side you spoke from.
‘This must be all.’ It was all. Still they stood,
A great wave from it going over them,
As if the earth in one unlooked-for favour
Had made them certain earth returned their love.

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Oh, these bright Autumn days!

I find myself looking to Robert Frost’s Birches, perusing old Victoria magazines, and watching You’ve Got Mail. Joe Fox’s email to Kathleen Kelly about Autumn in New York, where he writes that  “I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address”, always makes me want to sharpen a dozen number 2 pencils to perfect points and place them in a vase with a bowl of candy corn nearby.

These crisp Autumn nights, how sweet they are, spending cozy hours rustling through old, battered cookbooks, looking for hearty soups to simmer and muffins to bake.

It is that crunchy time of year along the Cutoff. Time for taffy apples and raking leaves, with the primal chorus of Canadian geese casting passing shadows on the earth below as their lofty caravans migrate south.

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