LIFELY NEWSLETTER

Sign up to be notified of new posts and comments.


3 Poems by American Poet Robert Frost

Debra Redalia

Robert Frost

 

On Thursday evening at twilight I was sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of the house where Larry and I have been living for the past three years. I was sitting there because I was waiting and watching while the technicians were transferring my computer-phone-television service from the main house to my office in another building across the courtyard.

I was just peacefully sitting there as the day was ending and all my communication tools were leaving one place and being installed in another, and what came to mind was a poem by Robert Frost called Choose Something Like a Star.

I had my cell phone in my hand and I looked it up. I once knew this poem by heart because I sang this poem set to music when I was in a choir, but that was many years ago.

But then I was interrupted. When I finally read the poem later that evening, I was astonished at how relevant this poem is for today and decided to write a post about it.

When I awoke the next morning, it was clear I needed to post not one, but three poems by Robert Frost. So here they are.

But first, I just want to tell you a little about Robert Frost.

Robert Frost (1874-1963) is known as the unofficial “poet laureate” of the United States. Though he was born in San Francisco and lived in England, he is most known for his poems based on the years he spent living in rural New England. He was awarded four Pulitzer Prizes, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and was the poet laureate at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. Learn more about Robert Frost at BIOGRAPHY: Robert Frost

Writing these posts I’ve come to realize that Robert Frost is actually my favorite poet. It has been his poems that have touched me most deeply and have been with me throughout my life. I see the ideas I hold most dear in these poems now that I read them fifty years later. This is the America I know and love.

 

The Road Not Taken

1916 from Mountain Interval

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Taking the road less traveled has been the theme of my life since I was born. Even as a child my path was different. I never fit in, and had a very different upbringing than provided by the industrial public school I attended.

And then when I became an adult and tried to fit into the industrial consumer world, it promptly made my body very sick at age 24, which took me down a road that didn’t even exist at the time, that of finding nontoxic products and making them known. I created that road out of my own awareness that it was needed for myself and others.

And that has been my life, to keep taking the road less traveled, guided by my own curiosity rather than fitting into the modern industrial culture that doesn’t make sense to me.

This poem could be my theme song.

With our Lifely website, we are taking the road less traveled for sure. But it is a road that is there. It is grassy and wants wear but there is a road, and taking it, we will make all the difference.

 

The Pasture

1914 from North of Boston

I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too.

I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too.

When Larry and I first read this poem, it immediately touched our hearts. Such a simple expression of such an essential feeling of wanting the companionship of another in the most basic and simple moments of life.

For us, love is not about going out on industrial dates, it’s the moments we share in everyday life that are special.

We love this poem so much that we wrote our own version for our second wedding on the Spring Equinox 2004, including elements of our own lives.

The phrase “you come too” has been integrated into our everyday language. We will say to each other, “I’m going off to the grocery store. You come too."

And even our work with our Lifely websites has at its core an invitation: you come too.

The Wedding

We began our wedding by facing the guests and reading the verses alternately, at the end giving them the invitation to our ceremony “you come too."

(Larry)
I’m going for a walk along the stream
There may be salmon jumping there today
I’ll sit and wait and watch them on their way
I sha’n’t be gone long
You come too.

(Debra)
I’m going off to find things for our house
Graceful doors and windows from the past
To make a home where love will last and last
I sha’n’t be gone long
You come too.

(Larry)
I’m going to slay the dragons in my mind
And pierce the darkness with a shaft of light
I want to live a life that’s clear and bright
I sha’n’t be gone long
You come too.

(Debra)
I’m going off to learn the laws of life
And find the good in me I know is there
It’s something that I know you want to share
I sha’n’t be gone long
You come too.

(Larry)
I’m going to create a life that’s new
Come take my hand—we’ll play among the stars
With freedom now to make a life that’s ours
It won’t be long now
You come too

 

Choose Something Like a Star

1943—written during World War Ii

NOTE: “And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,” is a reference to a poem by John Keats called Bright Star. It begins “Bright star would I were steadfast as thou art,” referring to being steadfast to the woman he loves. Later in the poem Keats makes reference to “nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,” an eremite being one who lives alone in the wilderness. a hermit.

The lines of the original poem were not grouped as they are here. I took the liberty to group them for ease of reading,

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud –
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.

Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.

Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says “I burn.”
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.

And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,

So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

I have read this poem so many times, and have even sung it as a song in choir, but reading it now, in the midst of the confusions of our times and my current understanding of life, it held new meaning to me and brought me to tears.

To me, this poem is a person standing on the Earth, looking up and talking to a star.

He observes darkness brings out its light.

And then he says I can grant you your loftiness but I cannot allow you to be silent. Say something we can understand! Tell us all about your physical characteristics! But these do not satisfy.

But he then notes that the star does not come down to him, but instead invites him to rise up to it.

So "when at times the mob is swayed,” Robert Frost says, "To carry praise or blame too far,” we can choose something like a star to put our minds on instead, and in doing so, we take the opportunity to transcend.

And this is where we are today. the mob is swayed to carry blame too far. But we have a choice. Darkness can bring out our light. We can rise to a certain height.

This is the less-traveled road Larry and I are taking. You come too.

Welcome to Lifely!

Quite simply, this blog is about orienting ourselves and our lives to Life, instead of orienting ourselves and our lives to industrial consumerism. Here we are sharing our own journey. You come too. Read more...

Debra & Larry Redalia
lifepartners + soulmates

For more than 30 years we have been delving into the nature and activities of life together. Indeed, this has been and continues to be the very reason we are together. With delight, we research, explore, observe, and even wake each other up in the middle of the night to discuss how life functions and how we can function as life—even while living in the modern world. We each are different from the norm, but we are different in the same way, so we have been able to think outside of the ordinary together and find the extraordinary workings of life.

Read more about us…
Read more about Debra…
Read more about Larry…