Friday, May 30, 2008

The Curmudgeonly Mr. Frost

Happy New Year, everybody!

Today's poem is an easy one, pleasant to read and pretty much self-explanatory. Here it is:

A Considerable Speck by Robert Frost
A speck that would have been beneath my sight On any but a paper sheet so white Set off across what I had written there

[The rest of this poem has been removed because it’s probably still in copyright. But you should be able to find it on the Web easily enough.]

Neat, eh? Note how the poet provokes your curiosity through the first 29 lines ("Where the heck is he going with this?" you wonder; and, "Is he going to squash the bug?") and then resolves it all in a joke. He stays his hand against the smaller creature with a lofty Olympian kind of mercy, while simultaneously taking a swat at the larger creatures (all other poets) in a low and mean-spirited (but fun) manner.

Frost was a curmudgeon, no doubt about it. A neighbor of mine in Winooski encountered him once. She was out in the country, paused at a stop sign and started through the intersection. A big black car shot through the same intersection without stopping for its stop sign, they both braked, and she barely missed hitting it. Robert Frost was at the wheel of the black car. He glared at her, and then sped on. She stayed in the intersection for another moment, shivering. All she could think of, she told me, was how close tomorrow's headlines had come to reading WINOOSKI WOMAN KILLS ROBERT FROST!

May your year be good. May you find evidence of human mind on the printed page.

All best,


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