Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Poem for Stony Brook

I came upon this poem by Robert Frost, and thought how perfectly it described the late great Stony brook. "The brook was thrown, Deep in a sewer dungeon under stone..." Once, trout entered her waters in the Spring to mate and complete the circle of life. Now, she lies in a subterranean vault, as if the city was ashamed of her. Such is progress.



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.

10 comments:

  1. A marvelous poem, Mark. The image of the brook leaping a knuckle; I know exactly how that looks. It is sad that children don't get the chance to play in streams anymore.

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  2. Perhaps he did write it about Stony Brook. He lived, worked, or went to school around Boston for a good portion of his life.

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  3. Frost graduated from Lawrence high school, so that would make more sense to me.

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  4. Someone should put this on a plaque near the Brewery.

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