The Need of Being Versed in Country Things

File:Robert Frost NYWTS.jpg

I’ve read a little bit of Robert Frost in my time. Of course – the classics – “The Road Not Taken” (And that has made all the difference!) and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Whenever I feel as though my to do list will never end, I quote that one line – “And miles to go before I sleep.”

There’s just something about the way Frost handles words. He can take such ordinary, everyday things and make them into something meaningful and important. His poems are so simple, but their meanings are so profound.

I picked up a Frost poetry book at the library a few weeks ago. Versed in Country Things is a collection of Frost poetry with black and white photographs of the countryside taken by B.A. King. The mix of the poetic imagery and the rustic pictures makes this book a fun companion on winter nights.

Anyway, I was reading in bed the other night, and I read the poem, “The Need of Being Versed in Country Things.” I decided right there that Robert Frost is now one of my favorite poets. I won’t rave over this poem. Rather, I’ll just let you read it for yourself.


The Need of Being Versed in Country Things

Robert Frost (Taken from Poem Hunter Website)

The house had gone to bring again
To the midnight sky a sunset glow.
Now the chimney was all of the house that stood,
Like a pistil after the petals go.

The barn opposed across the way,
That would have joined the house in flame
Had it been the will of the wind, was left
To bear forsaken the place’s name.

No more it opened with all one end
For teams that came by the stony road
To drum on the floor with scurrying hoofs
And brush the mow with the summer load.

The birds that came to it through the air
At broken windows flew out and in,
Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh
From too much dwelling on what has been.

Yet for them the lilac renewed its leaf,
And the aged elm, though touched with fire;
And the dry pump flung up an awkward arm;
And the fence post carried a strand of wire.

For them there was really nothing sad.
But though they rejoiced in the nest they kept,
One had to be versed in country things
Not to believe the phoebes wept.


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