The Exposed Nest

9 06 2013

You were forever finding some new play.
So when I saw you down on hands and knees
In the meadow, busy with the new-cut hay,
Trying, I thought, to set it up on end,
I went to show you how to make it stay,
If that was your idea, against the breeze,
And, if you asked me, even help pretend
To make it root again and grow afresh.
But ’twas no make-believe with you today,
Nor was the grass itself your real concern,
Though I found your hand full of wilted fern,
Steel-bright June-grass, and blackening heads of clovers.
‘Twas a nest full of young birds on the ground
The cutter-bar had just gone champing over
(Miraculously without tasking flesh)
And left defenseless to the heat and light.
You wanted to restore them to their right
Of something interposed between their sight
And too much world at once–could means be found.
The way the nest-full every time we stirred
Stood up to us as to a mother-bird
Whose coming home has been too long deferred,
Made me ask would the mother-bird return
And care for them in such a change of scene,
And might our meddling make her more afraid.
That was a thing we could not wait to learn.
We saw the risk we took in doing good,
But dared not spare to do the best we could,
Though harm should come of it; so built the screen
You had begun, and gave them back their shade.
All this to prove we cared. Why is there then
No more to tell? We turned to other things.
I haven’t any memory–have you?–
Of ever coming to the place again
To see if the birds lived the first night through,
And so at last to learn to use their wings.

Robert Frost
“And let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give up.”  (Galatians 6:9 LEB)
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2 responses

9 06 2013
Heidi Viars

love this one … maybe it’s not that complicated to do the right thing 🙂

9 06 2013
D. Raymond-Wryhte

One may wonder what happened to the nest of birds when the farmer followed mowing with raking and baling. Frost wrote the poem about something that happened, or would have happened, more than a century ago. If the farmer was not successful enough to afford the new implements then being invented, the sun-dried hay might have been raked by hand, and then forked onto a wagon by hand. If so, the birds may have been noticed and completely spared. One way or the other, the efforts on the part of the two children reveal the thoughts, feelings, and behavior toward God’s creatures that, prior to the Fall, God intended humans always to exhibit.

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