From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in GoLocal24.com
Amidst all the “crisis chatter’’ (the late novelist Saul Bellow’s phrase) about the news, we’d do well to read Robert Frost’s great haunting late poem “Directive,’’ about a walk in upland New England that turns into a reflection on eons of the natural world, humanity’s experience and, by implication, the poet’s own ordeals and transitory joys. It ends with a quasi-Christian statement. It puts life, especially a long one, into an ambiguous but still vivid perspective.
The poem is too long to run all of here, but here are some fragments:
Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off
Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather,
There is a house that is no more a house
Upon a farm that is no more a farm
And in a town that is no more a town.
The height of the adventure is the height
Of country where two village cultures faded
Into each other. Both of them are lost.
And if you're lost enough to find yourself
By now, pull in your ladder road behind you
And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.
First there's the children's house of make-believe,
Some shattered dishes underneath a pine,
The playthings in the playhouse of the children.
Weep for what little things could make them glad.
But the end of the poem:
Here are your waters and your watering place.
Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.