Saturday, December 7, 2019

A Robert Frost Parody on Our Stormy Week in the Northeast


As some of you may know, I’m a big fan of Robert Frost, and often turn to his work for inspiration on setting mood. This time I turned to one of his less known poems, “The Need of Being Versed in Country Things,” to explain what we’ve been through—and are still experiencing—out in the wilds of Northwest New Jersey.

I love it out here, if only for the adventure each day—and passing storm—offers in the form of new challenges. At times, though, there are unexpected surprises, and they can be costly. So here’s my tale of what it means to be versed in country things.

To Farm we’d gone to be again
Beneath clear skies far away from woe.
But first came ice then snow heavy on the wood
Like sugar candy glass brightly aglow.

The trees stood poised along the way,
To bear the weight or fall in shame
Should a dancing breeze add wind to the heft
To break their stiff backs and end the game.

Alas some lost and fell to their end
Most deep in woods or close by a road
But one did find to land upon our roofs
Another took down our power load.

Lines still lie that once flew through the air
And our propane supply is quite thin.
But the tree’s off the house we can sigh
Thanks to chainsaw and rope in my bin.

All this week there’s been continuing grief
Searching for fuel to keep up the fire  
Hemmed in by power lines crossing the way;
Plus down trees blocking all beyond each wire.

Yet, more was to come to make me sad.
Rejoiced when down to the farm workmen crept,
Then learned our boiler had died, poor thing.
Now heat’s back…along with great debt.

If a tree falls in the forest and you happen to be sitting....

here, you definitely hear it!
Plumbers to the rescue

The costly culprit

Ah yes, the joys of being versed in country things.

By the way, here’s Robert Frost’s original version.

"The Need of Being Versed in Country Things"

The house had gone to bring again
To the midnight sky a sunset glow.
Now the chimney was all of the house that stood,
Like a pistil after the petals go.

The barn opposed across the way,
That would have joined the house in flame
Had it been the will of the wind, was left
To bear forsaken the place’s name.

No more it opened with all one end
For teams that came by the stony road
To drum on the floor with scurrying hoofs
And brush the mow with the summer load.

The birds that came to it through the air
At broken windows flew out and in,
Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh
From too much dwelling on what has been.

Yet for them the lilac renewed its leaf,
And the aged elm, though touched with fire;
And the dry pump flung up an awkward arm;
And the fence post carried a strand of wire.

For them there was really nothing sad.
But though they rejoiced in the nest they kept,
One had to be versed in country things
Not to believe the phoebes wept.



  1. I can still "see" him at the Kennedy Inauguration...blinded by the sun!

  2. I can still "see" him at the Kennedy Inauguration...blinded by the sun!