Charles Clanton Rogers

Reflections based on poetry, music, visual art, book reviews, history of science, first-person history, philosophical essays and International Blogging


Now in the twelfth month of 2015, I am revisiting and revising ten previously published posts of mine which were well  received.    Count down at # 7

Birches red leaf

FORGIVE ME :  I understand that you like my writing in the-first-person.  Allow me a dramatic use of THE POETIC-LICENCE-wrench!  Frequently, my fingers are possessed by the ghost of Robert Frost. When I started with this post, I had (as I often do) – I had  a Frost deja vu. For a while, I was Robert Frost. This  is OUR first- person,  [poetic license], our words. (blogger’s note) 

#10 Three Dog Life 12/4

#9 The Evolution of One Writer 12/6

#8 Before  I Built a Wall…. 12/8

#7 Birches – Robert Frost 12/10

#6 You Could Be Immortal 12/12

#5 FDR is DEAD! 12/14

#4 Ella and Louis 12/16

#3 Journey of the Human Mind – Introduction 12/18

#2 Writers and The Butterfly  12/20

#1 Lessons from My Grandmother 12/22


Number seven:

Birches – Robert Frost
When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches,
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
but dropped its top and set me down again.
That would be good going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.”

Frost, Robert


Charles Clanton Rogers  revised December 10, 2015

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” Robert Frost

Robert Lee Frost was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of America. (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)

write me about yourself:

8 thoughts on “The Top Ten #7/10 – Birches

  1. susurrus says:

    I’m glad you introduced me to this. Several lines resonate – strangely the bit about carefully filling the cup to the brim and perhaps just over (I watched someone doing just this a few days ago) and leaving the earth but hoping to return. The lines about the wall reminded me of a song (World Leader Pretend).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. clanton1934 says:

      Hi Susan, it’s nice you dropped for some Robert Frost. I can’t manage long without some;? In the passed few months, I republished “tuft of flowers”. “Mending wall” and “west Running Brook” Although he has a strong American identity, he published his first works while living in England” and he is “New England” and not cowboy American. How are flowers? 🌹🌹🌹c

      Liked by 1 person

      1. susurrus says:

        You’ve made me think I must read more of his poetry. It’s a great idea to revisit your top ten.

        I’m travelling at the moment and all’s well. I’m missing a good deal of rain back at home, but not too many flowers!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. M. L. Kappa says:

    OMG, that’s taken me back a bit! I haven’t read this poem in years, and I used to know it by heart. Thank you, what a nice thing to wake up to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      I always happy to find Frost lovers. c

      Liked by 2 people

  3. bbnewsab says:

    Birches are very liked in Scandinavia, especially Sweden and Finland. They were among the first trees to become established here after the glaciers receded.

    It’s a rather quick growing tree, relatively immune to diseases and insect attacks. The bark was often stitched together, by early man, to make food vessels and canoes for hunting.

    In Norse mythology, the birch is dedicated to Thor, who besides being the God of Thunder is also a fertility God.

    In spring, the sap was collected and made into mead, or you could drink it as it was. The sap from birches is said to cure most diseases and make you feel happy. So the sap is collected still today.

    Ask a Swede or a Finn to name a tree, and there is a good chance he/she will answer: What about a birch?

    Maybe we Scandinavians should export sap from birches to the rest of the world to make people happier and healthier? As part of KK’s bridgebuilding International Blogging Network Project? (BTW, I’ve tasted the sap. It was neither good nor bad.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      There is American expression: Sapp-happy. I wonder if that was exported from Scandinavia?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. bbnewsab says:

    Who knows? Why not?

    Liked by 1 person

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