Wednesday, July 20, 2005


As I was saying...

Even Frost's anthology pieces--the ones that seem to confirm his role as a twinkling sage in his cracker-barrel pulpit--are full of exquisite understatement. In "Birches," he's hiking through another one of those existential copses. He's describing the trees, some bent nearly double from their seasonal coating of ice. To some extent the speaker wishes he were dead:
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterward, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.

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