Sunday, March 24, 2013

For This Is Love

—Photo by Richard Hansen, Sacramento

—Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day; 

And give us not to think so far away 

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here 

All simply in the springing of the year. 

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,

Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night; 

And make us happy in the happy bees, 

The swarm dilating round the perfect trees. 

And make us happy in the darting bird 

That suddenly above the bees is heard,

The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill, 

And off a blossom in mid air stands still. 

For this is love and nothing else is love, 

The which it is reserved for God above 

To sanctify to what far ends He will,

But which it only needs that we fulfill.


—Robert Frost

The farmhouse lingers, though averse to square

With the new city street it has to wear

A number in. But what about the brook

That held the house as in an elbow-crook?

I ask as one who knew the brook, its strength

And impulse, having dipped a finger length

And made it leap my knuckle, having tossed

A flower to try its currents where they crossed.

The meadow grass could be cemented down

From growing under pavements of a town;

The apple trees be sent to hearth-stone flame.

Is water wood to serve a brook the same?

How else dispose of an immortal force

No longer needed? Staunch it at its source

With cinder loads dumped down? The brook was thrown

Deep in a sewer dungeon under stone

In fetid darkness still to live and run—
And all for nothing it had ever done

Except forget to go in fear perhaps.

No one would know except for ancient maps

That such a brook ran water. But I wonder

If from its being kept forever under,

The thoughts may not have risen that so keep

This new-built city from both work and sleep.


—Robert Frost

A house that lacks, seemingly, mistress and master, 

With doors that none but the wind ever closes, 

Its floor all littered with glass and with plaster; 

It stands in a garden of old-fashioned roses. 

I pass by that way in the gloaming with Mary; 

'I wonder,' I say, 'who the owner of those is.'

'Oh, no one you know,' she answers me airy, 

'But one we must ask if we want any roses.' 

So we must join hands in the dew coming coldly 

There in the hush of the wood that reposes, 

And turn and go up to the open door boldly, 

And knock to the echoes as beggars for roses. 

'Pray, are you within there, Mistress Who-were-you?' 

'Tis Mary that speaks and our errand discloses. 

'Pray, are you within there? Bestir you, bestir you!
'Tis summer again; there's two come for roses. 

'A word with you, that of the singer recalling— 

Old Herrick: a saying that every maid knows is 

A flower unplucked is but left to the falling, 

And nothing is gained by not gathering roses.' 

We do not loosen our hands' intertwining 

(Not caring so very much what she supposes), 

There when she comes on us mistily shining 

And grants us by silence the boon of her roses.


Today's LittleNip:

In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: it goes on.

—Robert Frost


—Medusa, who is hoping you will join with me in celebrating Robert Frost's birthday this coming Tuesday, March 26

And be sure to check out the "Entertainment" section of The Sacramento Bee for today's article about the Sacramento poetry scene: