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Poems by Robert Frost (Centennial Edition)

A Boy's Will and North of Boston

Robert Frost - Author

William H. Pritchard - Introduction by

Peter Davison - Afterword by

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ISBN 9780451527875 | 160 pages | 01 Apr 2001 | Signet Classic | 4.25 x 6.77in | 18 - AND UP
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Summary of Poems by Robert Frost (Centennial Edition) Summary of Poems by Robert Frost (Centennial Edition) Reviews for Poems by Robert Frost (Centennial Edition) An Excerpt from Poems by Robert Frost (Centennial Edition)

A Bays Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914) marked the debut of Robert Frost as a major talent. Four of his volumes won the Pulitzer Prize before his death in 1963, and his body of work has since become an integral part of the American national heritage.

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-coloured
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
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 afterwards, 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.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm,
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows--
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
>From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. Introduction by William H. Pritchard

A BOY'S WILL
Part I
Into My Own
Ghost House
My November Guest
Love and a Question
A Late Walk
Stars
Storm Fear
Wind and Window Flower
To the Thawing Wind
A Prayer in Spring
Flower-Gathering
Rose Pogonias
Asking for Roses
Waiting—afield at Dusk
In a Vale
A Dream Pang
In Neglect
The Vantage Point
Mowing
Going for Water
Part II
Revelation
The Trial by Existence
In Equal Sacrifice
The Tuft of Flowers
Spoils of the Dead
Pan with Us
The Demiurge's Laugh
Part III
Now Close the Windows
A Line-Storm Song
October
My Butterfly
Reluctance

North of Boston
Mending Wall
The Death of the Hired Man
The Mountain
A Hundred Collars
Home Burial
The Black Cottage
Blueberries
A Servant to Servants
After Apple-Picking
The Code
The Generations of Men
The Housekeeper
The Fear
The Self-Seeker
The Wood-Pile

Afterword: "Farness and Depth" by Peter Davison
Note
Bibliography of Critical Works