Thursday, March 26, 2020

Happy Birthday, Robert Frost

Tree At My Window
by Robert Frost

Tree at my window, window tree,
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me.

Vague dream head lifted out of the ground,
And thing next most diffuse to cloud,
Not all your light tongues talking aloud
Could be profound.

But tree, I have seen you taken and tossed,
And if you have seen me when I slept,
You have seen me when I was taken and swept
And all but lost.

That day she put our heads together,
Fate had her imagination about her,
Your head so much concerned with outer,
Mine with inner, weather.

The picture above is not the tree at my window, but it is the first tree I've seen in full bloom this spring. I wish you could have been there to see the cloud of bees buzzing hungrily amongst the blossoms. 

There was a crabapple tree outside my window growing up, and I memorized "Tree at My Window" in high school as a tribute to her. I need to re-memorize it. Maybe this could be my new hand-washing poem. I've been using "Loveliest of Trees the Cherry Now" and "Barter." My "playlist" could use some variety. 

My real reason for sharing this poem is that today is Robert Frost's birthday. And amazingly, though I've shared MANY of my Robert Frost favorites over the years (some, multiple times), I've never shared this one. It was the phrase "outside my window" in this Incidental Comics that reminded me of "Tree at My Window." (The comic also made tears spring to my eyes and his comments about the comic validated my NPM theme...more on that later.) Robert Frost's poems are wise and timeless. Here's to the all the best we humans have and will make, and here's to the things upon which we can rely, like Spring and Poetry Friday. Tabatha has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at The Opposite of Indifference.


  1. Wise and timeless and grounding. Whenever I read Frost, I feel that my whole self grounded in the verse. What a lovely poem. I have not yet memorized a poem for hand-washing. I must do that. The idea of a Vague dream head lifted out of the ground grabbed me. I was driving a lot many dreamy heads roused by spring.

  2. Thank you for these tree thoughts Mary Lee... I am looking forward to your NPM project! xo

  3. Thanks for the Frost fix and lovely photo. I like the idea of reciting poems while hand washing. :)

  4. Thanks for this timeless tree poem by Frost and promising pic of spring. I like the conversation Frost has with "her," the last stanza putting their "heads together," and your personal crabapple tree connection. Your crabapple tree has jogged my memory of three small crabapple trees that sat between my childhood home and our neighbors, and which I always admired.

  5. Ah! Poetry for handwashing! That's great - I'm kind of over "Out, out damn spot..." and happy birthday. I am taking pictures of our neighbor's cherry tree almost daily - and standing in front of our pomegranate tree thinking "Open, open, OPEN at it - all those gorgeous red buds!

  6. Lovely, Mary Lee. I look out my window frequently as I work. I can't see any trees up close from my treadmill, but even just ragged scraps of treetops and such is soothing. Nothing bursting in bud here yet...but soon. The future--and beauty, somehow, some way--awaits!

  7. The tree at my window is a huge old cypress tree just starting to green. I watch it while I lie in my living room doing daily yoga. This is a lovely mentor text.

  8. Thanks, Mary Lee. I didn't know this Frost poem. It is lovely. I especially like the line "But let there never be curtain drawn between you and me."

  9. We need as much wise and timeless as we can get these days. Thank you for sharing Robert Frost on his 147th birthday. Forever young.

  10. A beautiful post for trying times, Mary Lee. Thank you for sharing this one that I never heard before. I look out my window daily at my trees and they speak to me. Happy Birthday Robert Frost, a beloved poet.

  11. I think you are who connected me with Incidental Comics, Mary Lee & I've loved what he has shared these past weeks. Connecting to trees is a special thing, so I love this Frost poem today. There was a tree planted when I was a little girl & now when I go back to the little town where I lived, I visit it, so tall now & beautiful. Frost continues to give us hope in so many ways. Thank you!

  12. Wise thoughts and comforting poem, Mary Lee. Hand washing will never be the same again...reciting poetry while we do it is another good benefit. :)

  13. Thanks for this, Mary Lee. It is new to me and has made me realize how much I depend on trees. I can scarcely live without them. Now I have that to explore, thanks to you. Also, I love the idea of having a poem in my head while washing hands... I shall try it! THANKS!

  14. One of my favorite moments is when the crabapples blossom along with the forsythia and other white blooming trees. I can't drink in enough of the beauty before me. In winter I want to race out to capture photo and after photo of the firs so elegantly clothed in snow-ermine. My first poem to memorize was Kilmer's Trees in gr. 5. That one is always pretty rusty, but it helped start my reverence for trees. I am glad to know you are a fellow reciter. Knowing poems by heart has changed my life. I so wish I had started sooner. As I recite the poem over and over the words take on more meaning for me, I find the heart of the poem and have it at the ready to lift me when I need it. I assume this is true for you, too. Trees can be so easily ignored but how many aspects and times of our lives are connected to an experience related to a tree? For me there are many. Thanks, Mary Lee, for this post. Janet Clare R.

  15. What a lovely tree outside your window! And the Frost poem is perfect for it. I have a tree out of one upstairs window that I love. I have to savor its green leaves since it doesn't show off its blooms like yours.

  16. So lovely and timely and welcome, this Spring especially. Virtual hugs to you, and tree-time!

  17. Such an intimate poem, a beautiful ending, and this: "You have seen me when I was taken and swept/And all but lost."

  18. That third stanza -- Frost has a unique way of describing how stormy times affect us. And the thought that a tree understands that and lives through it is powerful.


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