Three Poems by Robert Frost

Robert Frost in a 1941 photograh. (Library of Congress photograph)
Robert Frost in a 1941 photograph. (Library of Congress photograph)

When I was an undergraduate in college, I had a professor who held the distinction of having every poet laureate of the United States in his car at one time or another since Robert Frost. He told an amusing story of having almost run Robert Frost over with his car while Frost was walking on the Amherst campus. Frost has long been one of my favorite poets and remains an influence 57 years after his death and over 95 years after the following poems were published. Here are three of my favorite Robert Frost poems which entered the public domain on January 1, 2019.

 

“STOPPING BY THE WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING”

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

 

“THE ROAD NOT TAKEN”

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.

 

“FIRE AND ICE”

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

“A Purple Cow, a Friendly Sow, a Hatter and His Wayward Plow” by Ken Gosse

The hatter seemed madder than even the cow;
“In a deep purple rage!” or so said the sow
who also believed that it didn’t much matter
if just one or two of the former or latter
were angry or crazy (perhaps both were both)
because, as a friend, the good sow was quite loath
to color their attitudes with quirky platitudes—
although the hatter’s bright color was such
that the sow became worried his heart pumped too much.

For them, all mercurious impacts seemed spurious;
“He’s no more crazy than yonder cow Daisy,”
but sometimes the porcine and her friend the bovine
were mad at the hatter because of the chatter
that most hats were felt, but some were of leather
(the best from a diet of clover and heather)
and pigskin’s used, too, for a fancier shoe
or for oblongish footballs where leather won’t do.

But now, sow and cow feared the hatter was mad
for they heard what he said to the cook, something bad
about cow become beef, and sow become bacon—
’twas time to diverge from the road they had taken
that led to the farm long before this alarm
offered either a care that they might come to harm,
so they knocked down a wall (which made neighbors mad, too)
and escaped from it all before anyone knew
that the fence which brought peace to their lovely green fen
would need neighborly neighbors to build it again.

It seems that the hatter adjusted to change
and soon found new friends (whom some folks thought were strange),
including a cat who would fade as he spoke
and a large pompous grub blowing thick hookah smoke,
but his favorite two friends were a rabbit and mouse
(and all three had a tea with a girl from the house
at the end of the garden—or was that its start—
but the rabbit was rushed and soon had to depart),
nonetheless, best of friends till their very last day
when the hatter was plowing and plans went agley.

 

 

Ken Gosse prefers writing short, rhymed verse with traditional meter, usually filled with whimsy and humor. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, his poems are also in The Offbeat, Pure Slush, Parody, Home Planet News Online, Eclectica, and other publications. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years.