Thursday, April 23, 2009

National Poetry Month, Day 23: Robert Frost

I memorized this poem for a class in grad school and had the experience with memorization that I'd heard other poets talk about. I came to understand the poem in a way I never would have otherwise. I think when I first read it, I had no idea what was going on, but I loved the title and the way it turns the poem at the end.

For Once, Then, Something
by Robert Frost

Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths--and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.

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