Reluctance, by Robert Frost
Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.
The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question ‘Whither?’
Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?
Sometimes we find Frost without his tools, without the confidence that a man of that era was expected to possess in order to bend Nature to human will. Sometimes we find him in a wood, astounded by the deliberateness of Nature, left mourning what’s already long out of season.
I have confessed many times to not being a student of Frost’s, but I often gravitate toward his quiet, sometimes reluctant lessons — each of his poems, it seems to me, holds a lesson.
As for real life, I am a middle-aged woman with plenty of experience in real life lessons. As far as poetry, I’m still just a young student toying with word sounds, dallying with history and legend. My little compositions rarely hold lessons, only capture (sometimes) a wisp of emotion or wondering.
My contribution to APAD, Day 20, is The Poet’s Cup, which dallies with an old legend I found intriguing. It seems to me that Frost might have been a poet with no desire for seeking out, and maybe no need to risk, the magic of bramble wine.
Who knows? For now, I’ll go read a bit more Frost.