On this first day of National Poetry Month, I thought it appropriate to post a poem by Robert Frost, as his work was the first poetry I remember reading for fun. I bought The Poetry of Robert Frost Edited by Edward Connery Lathem when I was in middle school and have read it cover to cover at least five times since then. This is the exact dog-earred, pencil-scarred, bookmark-ridden copy.
One of the bookmarks is a piece of college-ruled notebook paper on which I wrote some of my favorite lines from this book. I think I was going straight through the book, stopped when I reached the end of the page, and never picked it up again–until today.
That folded paper was still marking that last quote–“There is always more than should be said”–when I pulled the collection off the shelf this morning for a National Poetry Month post. It comes from a two-part poem titled “The Wind and The Rain,” seen below. It reminds me of a day last summer, when I was very pregnant but Mr. G.B. and I were in New York City for our first time. I was so very pregnant. Our weather apps predicted rain, so we chose to make it a museum day. After touring the Museum of Natural History, the predictions finally came true, and of course all the cabs were taken, so we decided to leave the huddles of people around the museum steps and walk anyway. Did I mention I was so very pregnant? And with two babies we didn’t even know were boys then. We walked through Central Park in six inches of water in low, sporty shoes with breathable mesh. It sounds miserable, but we’re both the kind of people who “no dwelling could contain/when there was rain.”
“The Wind and the Rain”
by Robert Frost
That far-off day the leaves in flight
Were letting in the colder light.
A season-ending wind there blew
That, as it did the forest strew,
I leaned on with a singing trust
And let it drive me deathward too.
With breaking step I stabbed the dust,
Yet did not much to shorten stride.
I sang of death–but had I known
The many deaths one must have died
Before he came to meet his own!
Oh, should a child be left unwarned
That any song in which he mourned
Would be as if he prophesied?
It were unworthy of the tongue
To let the half of life alone
And play the good without the ill.
And yet ‘twould seem that what is sung
In happy sadness by the young,
Fate has no choice but to fulfill.
Flowers in the desert heat
Contrive to bloom
On melted mountain water led by flume
To wet their feet.
But something in it still is incomplete.
Before I thought the wilted to exalt
With water I would see them water-bowed.
I would pick up all ocean less its salt,
And though it were as much as cloud could bear
Would load it onto cloud,
And rolling it inland on roller air,
Would empty it unsparing on the flower
That past its prime lost petals in the flood
(Who cares but for the future of the bud?),
And all the more the mightier the shower
Would run in under it to get my share.
‘Tis not enough on roots and in the mouth,
But give me water heavy on the head
In all the passion of a broken drouth.
And there is always more than should be said.
As strong is rain without as wine within,
As magical as sunlight on the skin.
I have been one no dwelling could contain
When there was rain;
But I must forth at dusk, my time of day,
To see the unburdening of skies.
Rain was the tears adopted by my eyes
That have none left to stay.
Frost, Robert. The Poetry of Robert Frost. Ed. Edward Connery Lathem. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1979. 336-37. Print.
Stay tuned for more National Poetry Month posts, hopefully every day this month.