Friday, February 16, 2018

Poetry Friday -- Robert Frost


Unsplash photo by Andy Mai

On a Tree Fallen Across the Road
(To hear us talk)


The tree the tempest with a crash of wood
Throws down in front of us is not bar
Our passage to our journey's end for good,
But just to ask us who we think we are

Insisting always on our own way so.
She likes to halt us in our runner tracks,
And make us get down in a foot of snow
Debating what to do without an ax.

And yet she knows obstruction is in vain:
We will not be put off the final goal
We have it hidden in us to attain,
Not though we have to seize earth by the pole

And, tired of aimless circling in one place,
Steer straight off after something into space.

by Robert Frost


This is a poem for those times when you can not write an epitaph to save your life. (Ditty Challenge will have to wait.) When the three drafts you wrote for Laura Shovan's February challenge this week  aren't fit for public view. And when all of the good poems you've bookmarked over the years are from the Writer's Almanac, which is gone, and which you miss. Dearly. An accessible poem every morning. A bit of history. Garrison Keillor's voice, if you had time to listen. (Is it wrong to mourn the good done by a person who has been found to have been bad?)

Jone has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Check it Out.


23 comments:

  1. Dear Mary Lee, what you're written is a LAMENT! And you know, I think IMPORTANT to remember the good deeds of the bad... we are all complicated individuals... I bet those poem-drafts aren't nearly as unfit as you imagine. Keep going. xo

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  2. I'm with Irene. Lament away. I agree that we can absolutely miss the good even when one was bad. Our whole family had bought LiveStrong bracelets when my father-in-law was battling cancer because he would watch the bike race religiously. Who cares about the wrong of Lance Armstrong. We were staying strong as a family.
    I hope you can turn that critic's voice off soon and join us in the daily writing. There are no critics hanging out there, I promise.

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  3. Perseverance is key. :) Happy Friday!

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  4. Thanks for sharing this Frost poem, Mary Lee. I have been in one of those modes lately, too. Something will bubble up...keep writing!

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  5. Frost poem is new to me, so thank you! I share your lamentation. These days, far too many whom we have admired have proven to be bad. Keep cracking on those epitaphs!

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  6. Mary Lee, I hear you. Sometimes, I question what I write but being vulnerable is a mark of a connected educator so I keep trudging on. Embrace Hope! It will make you surface and we will all benefit from your wisdom.

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  7. I join you in lamenting the loss of The Writer's Almanac. It was my favorite way to start the day and introduced me to so many poets. I'm hopeful that the archives will return someway, somehow . . . is that just my wishful thinking? Thanks for sharing this new-to-me Frost poem

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  8. I like this poem and the metaphor for life it presents. Good luck with your writing! It is hard work getting a poem just right.

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  9. I'm glad Frost is confident that obstruction is in vain. We will not be put off our goals, Mary Lee! At least not for long. Hugs to you.

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  10. Oh my, I do miss your poems. They were fine in yesteryear, know they are fine now, too. Possibly, the lament will help. When I felt in some such way, I always said I would go home & kick the garage door! I did & it helped. Now, tehe, I have no garage since I moved. I stomp around instead! I miss The Writer's Almanac, too. Perhaps we should begin our own, or perhaps Laura's month is our kind of Almanac? Thanks for the Frost, too. He too sounds frustrated.

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  11. Love the Frost sonnet you shared, and would love to hear your voice at Laura's site–hope it appears there soon, you have much to say that's worth hearing!

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  12. You are right and true and very and.....I stand next to you staring off into space. Thank you for your words and the words of others too.

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  13. I had a discussion at lunch yesterday about separating the art from the artist (in relation to a Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris). If I were to dismiss every piece of art because of something in the artist's life that is/was inexcusable, then, I fear, art would not be something I could partake in. If I don't know the inexcusable now, I may find out about it later. I think this discussion needs to be continued. It has my head spinning.

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  14. I do miss seeing what you write over on the daily poem project, but I love the Frost poem you shared today. And yes, we can mourn and miss the good that coexists inside a complicate person who also showed the bad. I think it is important to acknowledge and recognize both even though it is hard to do. Together,through thinking and writing and talking, we will figure out a way to the other side where voices of victims are listened to and valued and where those who commit abuses can face the consequences and seek and find forgiveness and even reconciliation.

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  15. I think many of us have been struggling to reconcile our love of a person's work with their deeds and actions. Recently a number of prominent figures of the YA and kidlit community have been accused of some very unprofessional behaviour that has a lot of us wondering whether we should be supporting them by buying their books. But...sometimes their books are really good! It's a conundrum, to be sure.

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  16. When I'm experiencing a drought in words, I find that reading and sharing the words of another is refreshing rain and fills my reservoir again. I'm glad you shared Robert Frost's words today: "We will not be put off the final goal."

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  17. That's one huge tree that has fallen in your path, Mary Lee. But as Frost's sonnet implies, your determination is stronger. I've always admired your resilience, Mary Lee, and you WILL find a way around this temporary setback. Heck, you're already making strides. Your epitaph poem says it all. xo

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  18. I love Frost's sonnets...this is one that many do not know, but is just as beautiful and thoughtful as his other more well-known pieces. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. I think the poem is perfect for the situation but maybe not for the reason you posted it. My best strategy for when my writing gets stuck is to go out for a walk, ideally in the woods. Getting away from my desk and moving my body and being in nature really seems to help even if I come across a tree lying across the path. Good luck!

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  20. I understand getting stuck. Frost brngs is home to us when we're stuck. Walking in nature helps.

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  21. Quite often, is it not the case, that the real art comes from the troubled places in us? And sometimes from the troubled among us, who are blown about by unseemly urges, who feel so out of the ordinary stream that they lose sight of the channeling banks? We need not excuse the wrong-doing to be touched by the art. "insisting on our own way so" is so human...

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  22. When I am "tired of aimless circling in one place", unable to birth words, I look for inspirations from my favorite poets. I have read Robert Frost's works but first time I read the one you shared. Thank you!

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  23. I don't know that to do with the bad and good, except love people for who they are. Help them achieve better than they did before. We can't cut people out of the herd and consider our jobs done. If trees fall, we make furniture. When a forest burns, new seeds take root. When our idols fall, perhaps they will rise again as mere people.

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