The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Thursday and Calvert Autumn

The Wood-Pile
By Robert Frost

Out walking in the frozen swamp one grey day
I paused and said, "I will turn back from here.
No, I will go on farther--and we shall see."
The hard snow held me, save where now and then
One foot went down. The view was all in Straight up and down of tall slim trees
Too much alike to mark or name a place by
So as to say for certain I was here
Or somewhere else: I was just far from home.
A small bird flew before me. He was careful
To put a tree between us when he lighted,
And say no word to tell me who he was
Who was so foolish as to think what he thought.
He thought that I was after him for a feather--
The white one in his tail; like one who takes
Everything said as personal to himself.
One flight out sideways would have undeceived him.
And then there was a pile of wood for which
I forgot him and let his little fear
Carry him off the way I might have gone,
Without so much as wishing him good-night.
He went behind it to make his last stand.
It was a cord of maple, cut and split
And piled--and measured, four by four by eight.
And not another like it could I see.
No runner tracks in this year's snow looped near it.
And it was older sure than this year's cutting,
Or even last year's or the year's before.
The wood was grey and the bark warping off it
And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis
Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle.
What held it though on one side was a tree
Still growing, and on one a stake and prop,
These latter about to fall. I thought that only
Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks
Could so forget his handiwork on which
He spent himself, the labour of his axe,
And leave it there far from a useful fireplace
To warm the frozen swamp as best it could
With the slow smokeless burning of decay.


It rained all day Wednesday and I spent most of it indoors, doing work and chores and fighting with my computer and my phone about various ongoing issues, one of which is that my backup program keeps telling me it could not copy one file but will not tell me WHICH file so I have just spent a ridiculous amount of the evening trying to figure out what is going on, whether I have a bad sector or just a corrupted file or overlong file name. So as you can see, much of the day has gotten away from me on trivialities (some more entertaining than others).

Adam went home from school with friends to study and stayed out through dinner, so it was a quiet evening. We watched Harry's Law, which had much too little Harry for my taste and a rather unpleasant B plot to go with the horrific A plot, and we finally caught up on Lindsay Duncan's episode of Merlin, which I didn't think was all that well written despite the ongoing Arthur/Merlin love-fest but made up for that by having Lindsay Duncan leading bigger armies than Camelot has (and Katie McGrath really stepped up her game in scenes with her).

Here are some photos from Calvert Cliffs State Park, all along the path through the woods to the beach:


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