Mr. Frost

There’s supposed to be a blizzard here all weekend. I thought this was apropos even though all of you have read it.
Also, this poem reminds me of Pascal talking about the then new cosmology, who points out how humbling and incomprehensible the size of the universe is.

Desert Places
by: Robert Frost
Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast
In a field I looked into going past,
And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,
But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

The woods around it have it–it is theirs.
All animals are smothered in their lairs.
I am too absent-spirited to count;
The loneliness includes me unawares.

And lonely as it is that loneliness
Will be more lonely ere it will be less–
A blanker whiteness of benighted snow
With no expression, nothing to express.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars–on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.

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4 Responses
  1. Joshua Neu says:

    Here's the quote from Pascal's Pensees that I was thinking of:
    " When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity that lies before and after it, when I consider the little space I fill and I see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant, and which know me not, I rest frightened, and astonished, for there is no reason why I should be here rather than there. Why now rather than then? Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have this place and time have been ascribed to me? "

  2. Hughes says:

    Josh, we're so close but so far away. The snow is falling fast, oh fast outside my window right now, and I'm reminding myself that "One must have a mind of winter." We'll have to catch up in 2010 and discuss our experiences with southern exile and northern adaptation.

  3. Just call me Peter says:

    Here's another good poem:

    One thin September soon

    A floating continent disappears

    In midnight sun

    Vapors rise as

    Fever settles on an acid sea

    Neptune's bones dissolve

    Snow glides from the mountain

    Ice fathers floods for a season

    A hard rain comes quickly

    Then dirt is parched

    Kindling is placed in the forest

    For the lightning's celebration

    Unknown creatures

    Take their leave, unmourned

    Horsemen ready their stirrups

    Passion seeks heroes and friends

    The bell of the city

    On the hill is rung

    The shepherd cries

    The hour of choosing has arrived

    Here are your tools

  4. Joshua Neu says:

    No doubt. I have a long weekend in mid-February and have off for Holy Week and Easter Week.

    I've placed the Pledge of Allegiance to the Texas Flag outside my dorm room. Several seminarians have already signed, even one from Long Island.

    Oh yeah, Louis MacNeice's wonderful poem "Snow" is a real gem as well, though not as nihilistic as the others, if they really are nihilistic, which is debatable.

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