Happy 146th birthday to Robert Frost!
Happy 146th birthday to Robert Frost!
Click here to view all the Poetry Crisis Valentines
Two roads diverged in a wood, you know,
And I crossed the one filling up with snow,
And now I’m at this frozen lake.
I wonder if there’s some mistake.
I find no corn or seed or grain;
I think I might cross back again.
STAFFER: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CALLER: Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
STAFFER: Isn’t that kind of dehumanizing? I mean, I think the wall is a wasteful solution to an imaginary problem, but when you start talking about people as things–
CALLER: That sends
STAFFER: The wrong message, I know, but–
CALLER: the frozen-
STAFFER: Did you just call me a snowflake?
CALLER: ground-swell under it,
STAFFER: A groundswell is right. And we’re just getting started.
CALLER: And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
STAFFER: Really? Over two million nonviolent protesters, but you want to focus on the few who showed up topl–
CALLER: And makes gaps
STAFFER: That gap is natural. Every woman has it, unless she’s wearing a bra that squishes them together.
CALLER: even two can pass abreast.
STAFFER: Yes, they usually come in pairs.
CALLER: The work of hunters is another thing:
STAFFER: Look, I have to call you out here. I think you’re defensively falling back on traditional gender roles.
CALLER: I have come after them and made repair
STAFFER: I know what that’s like. But once you start cleaning up after the patriarchy, it starts to become a full-time job.
CALLER: Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
STAFFER: Rock on
CALLER: But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
STAFFER: Now you’re splitting hares.
CALLER: To please the yelping dogs.
STAFFER: But that’s what I’m saying–you’ll never please some people. They just want to bark bark bark bark / bark bark bark bark / until you can hear them all over the park.
CALLER: The gaps I mean,
STAFFER: Again with the cleavage. Wait–are you saying the protesters are the dogs?
CALLER: No one has seen them
STAFFER: Are you kidding? They were on all the news channels in their handcrafted hats.
STAFFER: Fine, handMADE hats. But I think you’re splitting hairs again. Are you trying to distract me from what you just said about nobody seeing them?
CALLER: or heard them
STAFFER: Now that’s just nonsense. They were loud and proud, and the points they stated–
STAFFER: Yes, the points they made.
CALLER: But at spring mending-time we find them there.
STAFFER: Again with the gender roles.
CALLER: I let my neighbour know
STAFFER: Great! Spread the word.
CALLER: beyond the hill;
STAFFER: All over the world–not just Capitol Hill.
CALLER: And on a day we meet to walk the line
STAFFER: You’re coming out to march too? Wonderful!
CALLER: And set the wall between us once again.
STAFFER: Oh–so you’ll be at the counter protests? I’m sorry to hear that, but it is your right.
CALLER: We keep the wall between us as we go.
STAFFER: But that’s the problem, isn’t it? You can’t have an open discussion of the issues if you keep building walls.
CALLER: To each the boulders
STAFFER: That’s a whole different issue. When you talk to a woman you need to look her in the face. Don’t focus on her “boulders–”
CALLER: that have fallen
STAFFER: Now that’s just rude.
CALLER: to each.
STAFFER: Yes, much better. You need to talk to each person as an individual.
CALLER: And some are loaves
STAFFER: No. We’re all just people. Stop comparing us to things.
CALLER: and some so nearly balls
STAFFER: Look, if you think women are acting like men, that’s your problem, not theirs.
CALLER: We have to use a spell to make them balance:
STAFFER: There is no magical solution.
CALLER: “Stay where you are
STAFFER: You can’t just tell the protesters to stop.
CALLER: until our backs are turned!”
STAFFER: Or pretend you don’t see.
CALLER: We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
STAFFER: Now that’s really not OK.
CALLER: Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
STAFFER: No. Handling people roughly is not a game.
CALLER: One on a side.
STAFFER: What–like a duel?
CALLER: It comes to little more:
STAFFER: This is America. We don’t do trial by combat here. I mean, until His Orange Lordship appoints Chuck Norris to the Supreme Court.
CALLER: There where it is
STAFFER: Wait, he’s not planning to, is he?
CALLER: we do not need the wall:
STAFFER: No, we don’t. I just hope someone will tell the guy in power.
CALLER: He is all pine
STAFFER: Exactly! Pining for a time that never was…
CALLER: and I am apple orchard.
STAFFER: Yes. They tried to bury us, but we were seeds…
CALLER: My apple trees will never get across
STAFFER: Don’t be so pessimistic. Just keep talking until someone listens.
CALLER: And eat the cones
STAFFER: What, like the traffic cones? They’re way too rubbery. Bring a Clif bar or something.
CALLER: under his pines,
STAFFER: But pining isn’t the answer.
CALLER: I tell him.
STAFFER: You got to tell him? How did he react?
CALLER: He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
STAFFER: Right. Leading by platitude.
CALLER: Spring is the mischief in me,
STAFFER: I’m not sure I can wait that long.
CALLER: and I wonder / If I could put a notion in his head:
STAFFER: Oh, would you? Please do.
CALLER: “Why do they make good neighbours?
STAFFER: That’s what you want to put in his head?
CALLER: Isn’t it / Where there are cows?
STAFFER: Aaaaand we’re back to cowboy diplomacy.
CALLER: But here there are no cows.
CALLER: Before I built a wall I’d ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out,
STAFFER: See, that makes sense.
CALLER: And to whom I was like to give offence.
STAFFER: I would think that was the basic standard. Why can’t some people figure that out?
CALLER: Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
STAFFER: And we’re back to dehumanizing people.
CALLER: That wants it down.”
STAFFER: “She.” Or “He.” Not “That.” If you’ve got the President’s ear, you need to remind him that we’re talking about human beings.
CALLER: I could say “Elves” to him,
STAFFER: Yeah–you probably could.
CALLER: But it’s not elves exactly,
STAFFER: No. But he’d believe it.
CALLER: and I’d rather / He said it for himself.
STAFFER: Or Alec Baldwin. I could see Alec Baldwin saying it as him. “Elves.”
CALLER: I see him there
STAFFER: You can see that too, huh?
CALLER: Bringing a stone
CALLER: grasped firmly by the top
STAFFER: No, I meant on SNL. Was he also in Land of the Lost or something?
CALLER: In each hand,
STAFFER: Wait, are you talking about the president again? Each tiny hand?
CALLER: like an old-stone savage armed.
STAFFER: Yep, that sounds like him.
CALLER: He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
STAFFER: Yes, it seems that way to me, too.
CALLER: Not of woods only
STAFFER: Yeah, it was bad enough when it was just the national forests, but now they’re trying to take down all of our protections.
CALLER: and the shade of trees.
STAFFER: Even the trees are casting shade? Oh, you mean the alt-NPS Twitter feeds, don’t you?
CALLER: He will not go behind his father’s saying,
STAFFER: You mean his father’s money, right? Because it’s clear by now that he’ll say whatever he wants to.
CALLER: And he likes having thought of it so well
STAFFER: Yes, he certainly seems to.
CALLER:He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
STAFFER: Well, platitudes can be comforting in times of crisis, but they can also distract you from the real issues. Perhaps you should focus on real ways to be a good neighbor, such as bringing over a plate of cookies when they move in, not blaming your neighbors for your problems, avoiding trade wars or twitter wars, and not threatening to invade them. . . you know, the basics.
Read the original here.
COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, how may I help you?
CALLER: Whose woods these are I think I know.
COUNSELOR: That information should be on file in the County Clerk’s office
CALLER: His house is in the village though;
COUNSELOR: Do you need to notify him of a problem? A fire? Downed tree? Strange beast slouching toward Bethlehem?
CALLER: He will not see me stopping here
COUNSELOR: Hang on–what are you planning to do?
CALLER: To watch his woods fill up with snow.
COUNSELOR: They’ve been doing that a lot lately, haven’t they?
COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CALLER: Some say the world will end in fire,
COUNSELOR: So you’ve been watching the news. Jerusalem or North Korea?
CALLER: Some say in ice.
COUNSELOR: Or the bomb cyclone?
CALLER: From what I’ve tasted of desire / I hold with those who favor fire.
COUNSELOR: Yeah, that’s the terrifying part. That the people in charge seem to want a war.
COUNSELOR: Like they care about their approval ratings more than the long-term consequences. Like–
CALLER: if it had to perish twice,
COUNSELOR: What, you mean like a zombie apocalypse?
CALLER: I think I know enough of hate
COUNSELOR: That sounds more like an angry ghost–holding onto enough hostility to bring them back so they get–
CALLER: To say that
COUNSELOR: Or tweet it.
CALLER: for destruction
COUNSELOR: Yeah, it’s amazing how much harm a few words can cause.
COUNSELOR: What, you mean those people who round up immigrants and break up families? Like they don’t realize that an American family, even one that comes from somewhere else–
CALLER: Is also great
COUNSELOR: Exactly! And they think they’ll make us great again by kicking people out, when they could focus on rebuilding infrastructure, or creating jobs, or renewable energy, or … or…
CALLER: And would suffice.
COUNSELOR: Yeah, and. I also like and.