Monday, July 4, 2011

I have nothing at all planned for the Fourth of July. This is fine with me. On the one hand, I wouldn't mind catching up with garden weeding and lawn mowing. On the other, I also wouldn't mind if it rained all day and forced me to stay inside and make a rhubarb pie while listening to the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays.

Today's menu is likely to be lime-marinated cube steaks alongside a giant salad and the aforementioned rhubarb pie, unless someone girds up his or her loins to go strawberry picking.

In the course of reading Parini's bio of Frost, I came across this poem, which reminds me of how often I have had to spend the Fourth of July making hay. My memory of haying isn't silent, however: it has a drone--regular, regular, hour after hour--the trancelike chorus of tractor, power-takeoff, bailer, and clockwork sunburnt men. I used to sing to that drone as a child, and dream of it, and I still hear it in my head.


from A Boy's Will (1913)

Robert Frost

There was never a sound beside the wood but one,
And that was my long scythe whispering to the ground.
What was it it whispered? I knew not well myself;
Perhaps it was something about the heat of the sun,
Something, perhaps, about the lack of sound--
And that was why it whispered and did not speak.
It was no dream of the gift of idle hours,
Or easy gold at the hand of fay or elf:
Anything more than the truth would have seemed too weak
To the earnest love that laid the swale in rows,
Not without feeble-pointed spikes of flowers
(Pale orchises), and scared a bright green snake.
The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows.
My long scythe whispered and left the hay to make.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Happy 4th!

We lost power last night at 6 and it was not restored until 3 this afternoon. More storms forecast for tonight. My one plan is to get a warm shower before we have a repeat performance of last evening.