Friday, October 14, 2016

Poetry Friday -- Below the Surface


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For Once, Then, Something

by Robert Frost

Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.


This is a new-to-me Robert Frost poem. Seems important these days to look beyond the surface, no matter how scary that Something is that we might find there.

Irene has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Live Your Poem.


11 comments:

  1. What an interesting poem (new to me too). A good timeless message.

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  2. Where did you find this amazing poem? It's one I could read again and again and the glint of light may elude me each time. Looking beyond the surface can be scary, or fascinating.

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  3. I like the sense of 'did I see it? Or didn't I?' in this poem. Seeing beyond the surface can be like that.

    On another topic, I checked the National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry out of my library and was thrilled to find your poem "I Owe It All to Water." It's so fun finding yours and other familiar names in this book and other collections I've been reading. (I'm in good company!)

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  4. One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple

    I love that line!! Thank you, Mary Lee. xo

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  5. This really is a fascinating poem and one that merits multiple reads. The reminder to look beyond the surface is never untimely, but seldom so beautifully rendered. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Not to spread a note of despair over this discussion, but I wonder if Robert Frost never looked beyond the mirror-like reflection because he feared the darkness would beckon him in? Farming in NH was a tough life.

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  7. 'and lo, a ripple' ~ How one small drop, can make such an impact.

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  8. Perhaps he was talking about a glimpse of god. Perhaps he preferred to leave that as a possibility rather than sink in his hand and find it was only quartz after all.

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  9. I've puzzled over this cryptic poem before...these lines especially:
    I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
    Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
    Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.

    Thanks for sharing this poem, Mary Lee - food for thought, certainly.

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