Lamentation and prescience, in a poem to a creek

July 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

A big thanks to Creekfreak Anne Boyd, who shared a link on the L.A. Creek Freak Facebook page with a snippet of the Robert Frost poem, A Brook In The City, posted at the Poem Hunter website (for some reason it seems worth mentioning that the Poem Hunters are located in Paris, France).  Forgive me, oh Poem Hunter and any copyright holders, for reprinting here.

A Brook In The City

The farmhouse lingers, though averse to square

With the new city street it has to wear

A number in. But what about the brook

That held the house as in an elbow-crook?

I ask as one who knew the brook, its strength

And impulse, having dipped a finger length

And made it leap my knuckle, having tossed

A flower to try its currents where they crossed.

The meadow grass could be cemented down

From growing under pavements of a town;

The apple trees be sent to hearth-stone flame.

Is water wood to serve a brook the same?

How else dispose of an immortal force

No longer needed? Staunch it at its source

With cinder loads dumped down? The brook was thrown

Deep in a sewer dungeon under stone

In fetid darkness still to live and run —

And all for nothing it had ever done

Except forget to go in fear perhaps.

No one would know except for ancient maps

That such a brook ran water. But I wonder

If from its being kept forever under,

The thoughts may not have risen that so keep

This new-built city from both work and sleep.

Robert Frost

Sometimes I think this care and concern for our creeks and waterways must seem so small a thing in the minds of others.  So it is quite a surprise when I find that some very big minds, like the poet Robert Frost, noticed the culverting and loss of creeks with urbanization.

May we all forget to go in fear. Perhaps.

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§ One Response to Lamentation and prescience, in a poem to a creek

  • Miss Havisham's Tea Party says:

    Ah! Viva Roberto El Frio. Garcia Lorca wrote about water, streams, wells so deep, once peered into, never to re-emerge again.

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