The Telltale Plums (part 2 of 2)

WILLIAM: The plums were lovely, dark and deep, an–
Scratch that. It just seemed to creep in.
So much depends on your forgiveness. I don’t know if I can live this
down. My face is glazed with tears and, near my mouth and thumb,
the sweet and sticky juices of plums, plums, plums, plums plums, plums PLUMS!

Poets Answer Another Age-Old Question: How Many Poets Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb? 3. Robert Frost

This month we will be addressing the question of how many poets it takes to change a light bulb. This week: Robert Frost.

FROST: My little horse must harbor doubt.
HORSE: Why change a light that isn’t out?
FROST: But if I wait for it to die
Then I can’t find a bulb–that’s why.

Frost in Snow

COUNSELOR (unidentifiable in snowstorm): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
ROBERT FROST (presumably–also unidentifiable): Whose woods these are I think I know.
COUNSELOR: How can you tell?
FROST: His house is in the village, though.
COUNSELOR: Can you get your bearings?
FROST: He will not see me stopping here
COUNSELOR: I don’t think anyone will.
FROST: To watch his woods fill up with snow.



Robert Frost calls the Poetry Crisis Line yet 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.

CALLER: made

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–

CALLER: made,

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.

STAFFER: Exactly.

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.

Robert Frost Re-calls the Poetry Crisis Line

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?

Robert Frost calls the Poetry Crisis Line

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.