- 1.Poetry Thursday!
- 2.Poetry Thursday!
- 3.Poetry almost Thursday, Thanksgiving Edition
- 4.The first day of December, Poetry Thursday
- 5.Boy At the Window — Poetry Thursday
- 6.A Poem About Evolution — Poetry Thursday
- 7.Like Snow – Poetry Thursday
- 8.The Peace of Wild Things – Poetry Thursday
- 9.Rain – Poetry Thursday
- 10.The Real Work – Poetry Thursday
- 11.To The River – Poetry Thursday
- 12.A Beautiful Poem About Internal Darkness
- 13.Poetry Thursday – Genius
- 14.Poetry Thursday – Soon This Space Will Be Too Small
- 15.A Poem from Stephen Harrod Buhner
- 16.To Bless the Space Between Us – Poetry Thursday!
- 17.Poetry Thursday – A Quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- 18.Poetry Thursday – Sarah Cleghorn
- 19.On a Tree Fallen Across the Road by Robert Frost
- 20.A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman
- 21.My Will by Lorna Goodison
- 22.Going Away – A Poem from the Quechua
- 23.Blessing by John O’Donohue
- 24.The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins
- 25.Wild Geese by Wendell Berry
- 26.Silence of the Fall by Louisa Paulin
- 27.Poetry Thursday – Karl Ove Knausgaard
- 28.Snow Day by Billy Collins – Poetry Thursday
- 29.Winter Solstice by Jodi Aliesan – Poetry Thursday
- 30.A Brief For The Defense by Jack Gilbert
- 31.Lost by David Wagoner
- 32.Fiddling with the Idiot by Hafiz
- 33.The Sixth of January by David Budbill
- 34.Two Tramps in Mud Time by Robert Frost
- 35.What We Need is Here by Wendell Berry
- 36.Keep Moving Forward by Mitchell Greenwood
- 37.When I am Among the Trees by Mary Oliver
- 38.Praying by Mary Oliver
- 39.Thirst by Mary Oliver
- 40.Blueberries by Mary Oliver
- 41.The Sycamore by Wendell Berry
- 42.Jealous Hearing Someone Laugh by Hafiz
- 43.Advice to Myself by Louise Erdrich
- 44.Egg by C.G. Hanzlicek
- 45.The Broken Gourd by Wendell Berry
- 46.Another Spring by Kenneth Rexroth
- 47.Poetry Thursday – the Visionary Paintings of Paul Laffoley
- 48.Two Poems by Mary Oliver
- 49.What If? A poem by Ganga White
- 50.See No Evil by Billy Collins
- 51.We Who Prayed and Wept by Wendell Berry
- 52.Holy Thursday by William Blake
- 53.Woman by Nikki Giovanni
- 54.Choices by Nikki Giovanni
- 55.A Quote from Hafiz
- 56.The First by Wendell Berry
- 57.Excerpt for an Improvised Speech by Robert F. Kennedy
- 58.Riding Lesson by Henry Taylor
- 59.Messenger by Mary Oliver
- 60.In Rain by Wendell Berry
- 61.A Poetry Thursday with Rumi
- 62.Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye
- 63.Sometimes by David Whyte
- 64.Having it Out with Melancholy by Jane Kenyon
- 65.After an Illness, Walking the Dog by Jane Kenyon
- 66.Admit Something by Hafiz
- 67.Turtle Mountain Reservation by Louise Erdrich
- 68.The Layers by Stanley Kunitz
- 69.Martian Rose by Stuart Atkinson
- 70.To The Unseeable Animal by Wendell Berry
- 71.Open the Door or Die by Hafiz
- 72.Paradox of Noise by Gunilla Norris
- 73.Out of the Mouth of a Thousand Birds by Hafiz
- 74.An Excerpt by William Shakespear
- 75.School Prayer by Diane Ackerman
- 76.The Lanyard by Billy Collins
- 77.In the Next Galaxy by Ruth Stone
- 78.The Apple Tree by Wendell Berry
- 79.At the Un-National Monument along the Canadian Border by William E. Stafford
- 80.Mighty Pawns by Major Jackson
- 81.Letter to Brooks: Spring Garden by Major Jackson
- 82.Again and Again by Rainer Maria Rilke
- 83.The New Colossus By Emma Lazarus
“My job in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about the joy that comes when all parts of my life are working together in a more seamless concert. Frost speaks eloquently of that goal in this poem. And there’s some great Vermont imagery!
Two Tramps in Mud Time
by Robert Frost
Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily “Hit them hard!”
I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.
Good blocks of oak it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
Spares to strike for the common good,
That day, giving a loose my soul,
I spent on the unimportant wood.
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.
A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,
His song so pitched as not to excite
A single flower as yet to bloom.
It is snowing a flake; and he half knew
Winter was only playing possum.
Except in color he isn’t blue,
But he wouldn’t advise a thing to blossom.
The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheelrut’s now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.
Be glad of water, but don’t forget
The lurking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth.
The time when most I loved my task
The two must make me love it more
By coming with what they came to ask.
You’d think I never had felt before
The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,
The grip of earth on outspread feet,
The life of muscles rocking soft
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.
Out of the wood two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night,
But not long since in the lumber camps).
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
They judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handled an ax
They had no way of knowing a fool.
Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay
And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man’s work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right–agreed.
But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.