Tuesday, December 24, 2013

In Winter In The Woods Alone


In winter in the woods alone
Against the trees I go
I mark a maple for my own
And lay the maple low. 
At four o’clock I shoulder ax,
And in the afterglow
I link a line of shadowy tracks
Across the tinted snow. 
I see for Nature no defeat
In one tree’s overthrow
Or for myself in my retreat
For yet another blow. 
~Robert Frost (1962)

10 comments:

chickelit said...

The words are like a photo

AllenS said...

Visualize this --

A man got on the bus in Norton with both of his front trouser pockets full of golf balls and sat down next to a beautiful (you guessed it) blonde.

The puzzled blonde kept looking at him and his bulging pockets.

Finally, after many glances from her, he said, "It's golf balls."

The blonde continued to look at him for a very long time, thinking deeply about what he had said.

After several minutes, not being able to contain her curiosity any longer, she asked, "Does it hurt as much as tennis elbow?"

Icepick said...

At four o’clock I shoulder ax,

That's one helluva pecker you got there, if you can throw it over your shoulder. Even John Holmes wasn't that big.

Lem said...

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas... the song.

Mumpsimus said...

I can't figure out why he's trekking into the middle of the woods, in winter, and cutting down a single maple tree.

Not for a Christmas tree -- it's not an evergreen. Not for firewood -- green wood doesn't burn well. Not to lay in next year's firewood -- you wait for Spring, when you don't have to freeze your ass, to do that. Not to clear land -- he's only cutting down one tree.

The least one should expect from a poem, said Robert Graves, is that it also make prose sense. Oh, well.

chickelit said...

Not for a Christmas tree -- it's not an evergreen. Not for firewood -- green wood doesn't burn well. Not to lay in next year's firewood -- you wait for Spring, when you don't have to freeze your ass, to do that. Not to clear land -- he's only cutting down one tree.

After the German surrender, the post war winters were so cold and so bereft of coal that nearly every tree in the Berlin Tiergarten was felled for fuel. Green wood and even living trees will burn, given an existing fire. Maple is especially dense and rich in BTUs.

I doubt the sawyer got cold felling the tree, even dragging it away or stacking it must have worked up a good sweat.

Frost's poem teaches an ethic that it's OK to go harvest a piece of nature for the hell of it.

Merry Christmas, Mumps!

Mumpsimus said...

Okay, I'll buy that.

Same to you, Pollo.

deborah said...

Mumps, I wonder if it would make a difference in furniture making to fell it in the winter.

As far as cutting for wood during the winter, you wouldn't have to deal with as much leaves and underbrush.

OR if you have cabin fever and/or a talkative mate, it gets you out of the house :)

Do I get a gold star, chick?

chickelit said...

@deborah

deborah said...

Yay!