Visiting Robert Frost's Farm
Next trip, I told myself for years, I'll visit
the Frost farm. But chose instead the Flume,
Mount Washington, or to sit by the pool and write.
Next trip, I told myself until this summer.
Looking at the porch steps, I remembered
Frost's two roads diverging in a wood, his choice
to take the road less traveled by. And that
has made all the difference, he recited
dragging the word all out to a long slow sound
as if he meant to hold a whole world in it.
He was an old man even then, and I -
a young woman with roads and roads before me.
My friend dragged my wheelchair uphill to the barn
while I pressed my right foot hard against the ground
and pushed myself to lighten my friend's load.
The barn - no longer filled with hay or harness,
rake or hoe, or dull-bladed plow waiting
to make its way along the spring-thawed earth.
Instead, the barn was filled with stacks of books for sale.
Knowing now how way leads on to way, I bought
the complete collected works I'd planned to buy
some day. Which was that day, and too late for me
to walk the marked paths through the woods.
But not too late to breathe the air, remembering
Frost's words: But I am done with apple picking now.
-- Margaret Robison