Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Wisdom of Robert Frost

From "The Black Cottage":

Do you know but for her there was a time

When to please younger members of the church,

Or rather say non-members in the church,

Whom we all have to think of nowadays,

I would have changed the Creed a very little?

Not that she ever had to ask me not to;

It never got so far as that; but the bare thought

Of her old tremulous bonnet in the pew,

And of her half asleep was too much for me.

Why, I might wake her up and startle her.

It was the words ‘descended into Hades’

That seemed too pagan to our liberal youth.

You know they suffered from a general onslaught.

And well, if they weren’t true why keep right on

Saying them like the heathen? We could drop them.

Only—there was the bonnet in the pew.

Such a phrase couldn’t have meant much to her.

But suppose she had missed it from the Creed

As a child misses the unsaid Good-night,

And falls asleep with heartache—how should I feel?

I’m just as glad she made me keep hands off,

For, dear me, why abandon a belief

Merely because it ceases to be true.

Cling to it long enough, and not a doubt

It will turn true again, for so it goes.

Most of the change we think we see in life

Is due to truths being in and out of favour.

As I sit here, and oftentimes, I wish

I could be monarch of a desert land

I could devote and dedicate forever

To the truths we keep coming back and back to.

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