Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Girl's Garden, Robert Frost

Vincent van Gogh. Memory of the Garden at Etten (Women of Arles), 1888.  Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. 

I have been singing in my university's choir these past semesters, the only grown-up who joins the students (though any member of the university can do so) and delighting all the fall in this lesser known poem by Robert Frost, accompanied here by the van Gogh that seems to repeat its tale.  Music by Randall Thompson.

A neighbor of mine in the village
Likes to tell how one spring
When she was a girl on the farm, she did
A childlike thing.

One day she asked her father
To give her a garden plot
To plant and tend and reap herself,
And he said, "Why not?"

In casting about for a corner
He thought of an idle bit
Of walled-off ground where a shop had stood,
And he said, "Just it."

And he said, "That ought to make you
An ideal one-girl farm,
And give you a chance to put some strength
On your slim-jim arm."

It was not enough of a garden
Her father said, to plow;
So she had to work it all by hand,
But she don't mind now.

She wheeled the dung in a wheelbarrow
Along a stretch of road;
But she always ran away and left
Her not-nice load,

And hid from anyone passing.
And then she begged the seed.
She says she thinks she planted one
Of all things but weed.

A hill each of potatoes,
Radishes, lettuce, peas,
Tomatoes, beets, beans, pumpkins, corn,
And even fruit trees.

And yes, she has long mistrusted
That a cider-apple
In bearing there today is hers,
Or at least may be.

Her crop was a miscellany
When all was said and done,
A little bit of everything,
A great deal of none.

Now when she sees in the village
How village things go,
Just when it seems to come in right,
She says, "I know!

"It's as when I was a farmer..."
Oh never by way of advice!
And she never sins by telling the tale
To the same person twice.

2 comments:

Frangee said...

Really enjoyed your blog today, especially the music and the poem. Thank you

Commonweeder said...

I love the music and the poems - and every visit to your blog. Always a delight and edification.

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