Lost Frost Poem

The Guardian’s reporting that a University of Virginia student’s found an unpublished poem of Mr. Frost’s concerning the first World War. From the article:

War Thoughts at Home is set in a snow-bound house at the time of the first world war. Some blue jays are fighting outside the back door – “this flurry of bird war”. The woman of the house is disturbed from her sewing and goes to the window. The birds fall silent, and in the next stanza one bird says to the other: “We must watch our chance/ And escape one by one/ Though the fight is no more done/ Than the war is in France.” The woman thinks of the winter camps “where soldiers for France are made”, then draws the shades. Outside the sheds look like “cars that long have lain/ Dead on a side track”.

Link.

Update: Garth does an absolutely great job putting the poem together:

War Thoughts at Home
Robert Frost
[35 lines, 7 stanzas, each 5 lines]
1.
On the back side of the house
Where it wears no paint to the weather
And so shows most its age,
Suddenly blue jays rage
And flash in blue feather.

2.
It is late in an afternoon
More grey with snow to fall
Than white with fallen snow
When it is blue jay and crow
Or no bird at all.

3.
So someone heeds from within
This flurry of bird war,
And rising from her chair
A little bent over with care
Not to scatter on the floor

4.
The sewing in her lap
Comes to the window to see.
At sight of her dim face
The birds all cease for a space
And cling close in a tree.

5.
And one says to the rest
“We must just watch our chance
And escape one by one–
Though the fight is no more done
Than the war is in France.”

6.
Than the war is in France!
She thinks of a winter camp
Where soldiers for France are made.
She draws down the window shade
And it glows with an early lamp.

7.
On that old side of the house
The uneven sheds stretch back
Shed behind shed in train
Like cars that long have lain
Dead on a side track.

2 Comments so far

  1. garth (unregistered) on October 5th, 2006 @ 1:48 pm

    This is what I’ve been able to piece together from various reports.

    War Thoughts at Home
    Robert Frost
    [35 lines, 7 stanzas, each 5 lines]

    1.
    The flurry of bird war [?]
    ….[?]
    ….[?]
    ….[?]
    ….[?]

    2.
    It is late in an afternoon
    More grey with snow to fall
    Than white with fallen snow
    When it is blue jay and crow
    Or no bird at all.

    3. [or 1?]
    On the backside of the house
    Where it wears no paint to the weather
    And so shows most its age,
    Suddenly blue jays rage
    And flash in blue feather.

    4.
    ….[?]
    ….[?]
    ….[?]
    ….[?]
    ….[?]

    5.
    And one says to the rest
    “We must just watch our chance
    And escape one by one-
    Though the fight is no more done
    Than the war is in France.”

    6.
    Than the war is in France!
    She thinks of a winter camp
    Where soldiers for France are made.
    She draws down the window shade
    And it glows with an early lamp.

    7.
    …..[?]
    The uneven sheds stretch back
    Shed behind shed in train
    Like cars that have long lain
    Dead on a side track.


  2. garth (unregistered) on October 7th, 2006 @ 3:39 am

    Well I finally got the whole damn thing from MySpace, of all places. And the NYTImes’ About History wouldn’t post it on their blog –

    War Thoughts at Home
    Robert Frost
    [http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=47655941&blogID=174412193&MyToken=56b6a49d-4349-4b76-a94a-f7791caeb5f9]
    1.
    On the back side of the house
    Where it wears no paint to the weather
    And so shows most its age,
    Suddenly blue jays rage
    And flash in blue feather.

    2.
    It is late in an afternoon
    More grey with snow to fall
    Than white with fallen snow
    When it is blue jay and crow
    Or no bird at all.

    3.
    So someone heeds from within
    This flurry of bird war,
    And rising from her chair
    A little bent over with care
    Not to scatter on the floor

    4.
    The sewing in her lap
    Comes to the window to see.
    At sight of her dim face
    The birds all cease for a space
    And cling close in a tree.

    5.
    And one says to the rest
    “We must just watch our chance
    And escape one by one–
    Though the fight is no more done
    Than the war is in France.”

    6.
    Than the war is in France!
    She thinks of a winter camp
    Where soldiers for France are made.
    She draws down the window shade
    And it glows with an early lamp.

    7.
    On that old side of the house
    The uneven sheds stretch back
    Shed behind shed in train
    Like cars that long have lain
    Dead on a side track.



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