It’s funny how little links grow into a chain. A couple of days ago I was reading a post on Paul Butzi's blog in which he quoted a stanza from his favourite poem, Robert Frost’s Two Tramps in Mud Time. I know very little about poetry; I don’t even know what I like. But the piece was enough to send me to the whole, which I read and reread a good few times.
There is almost certainly more to it than I got, but it seems to me about the pleasure to be had in what used to be called honest toil, and more especially in a job done well. But it is also about the role of experience and expertise and the expectation that one has a right to do that which one is good at.
That struck a chord, and I tried unsuccessfully to find an extract that would work for me. I also sent it to Luigi. He liked it too, but better yet sent me a link to a different Frost poem. If Two Tramps in Mud time struck a chord, Putting in the Seed set off an entire harmonium of resonances. As he knew it would.
Putting in the Seed
You come to fetch me from my work to-night When supper's on the table, and we'll see If I can leave off burying the white Soft petals fallen from the apple tree. (Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quite, Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea;) And go along with you ere you lose sight Of what you came for and become like me, Slave to a springtime passion for the earth. How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed On through the watching for that early birth When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed, The sturdy seedling with arched body comes Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.