Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Some thoughts…

On this Poem: An exquisite poem that grows in beauty with each reading. Frost has never struck me as an overtly religious poet, though there is no denying the deep, philosophical thought characterizing his work. Yet, I find the beginning of this poem – Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today -  reminiscent of the Lord’s Prayer – Give us this day our daily bread… No doubt the parallel is intentional.

the springing of the year...

Lovely phrasing this; it evokes an image of earth coming to life after winter's slumber.

Some may sniff at the notion of asking for pleasure in flowers and white orchards as lacking in gravitas, yet they miss the point. Bread only nourishes the body; it is joy that feeds the soul and a joyful soul needs utter no other prayer. The harvest is ‘uncertain’, but this moment surely is. To quote another favorite poet of mine, we can choose ‘to kiss each winged joy as it flies’.

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