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.
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.