Friday, May 18, 2012

"The Need of Being Versed in Country Things," by Robert Frost

"Mountain Memories" Karen Margulis

The house had gone to bring again
To the midnight sky a sunset glow.
Now the chimney was all of the house that stood,
Like a pistil after the petals go.

The barn opposed across the way,
That would have joined the house in flame
Had it been the will of the wind, was left
To bear forsaken the place's name.

No more it opened with all one end
For teams that came by the stony road
To drum on the floor with scurrying hoofs
And brush the mow with the summer load.

The birds that came to it through the air
At broken windows flew out and in,
Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh
From too much dwelling on what has been.

Yet for them the lilac renewed its leaf,
And the aged elm, though touched with fire;
And the dry pump flung up an awkward arm:
And the fence post carried a strand of wire.

For them there was really nothing sad.
But though they rejoiced in the nest they kept,
One had to be versed in country things
Not to believe the phoebes wept.

"The Need of Being Versed in Country Things" by Robert Frost, from The Collected Poems © Holt Paperbacks, 1979. 


  1. Thank you Jim. Some incredible lines from my favorite poet. His gentle insight and reminder is timeless, But right now, so timely, for me.

    The imagery in this one is so vivid. Related by a keen observer."Like a pistil after the petals go" Unreal. I think I'll just linger a while and keep reading. Great pairing with the painting.

    1. Again, this is one I didn't know. Very happy to find it on Writer's Almanac. The painting: I was looking for a barn with that big old hay mow, one that the horses would "brush...with the summer load." Didn't find it, but this is a nice what I imagine to be northeastern spring setting.

  2. "Now the chimney was all of the house that stood,
    Like a pistil after the petals go."

    What images is this one!

    1. I just want to live in the images that he and other poets see, and occasionally write them down. Thanks, Erin. Hope the fishing's good.