Saturday, September 13, 2014

Choose Something Like A Star

photo by Robert Llewellyn via
O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud—
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says, 'I burn.'
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats' Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.
"Choose Something Like a Star" by Robert Frost, from Collected Poems, Prose and Plays. © The Library of America, 1995.
I subscribe to The Writer's Almanac podcasts. This Friday, as Garrison Keillor began reading the Robert Frost poem, "Choose Something Like a Star" I was transported back to my freshman year at St. Olaf College. As a member of the all women Manitou Singers, we learned the Randall Thompson setting of the Frost verse. I recall tears coming to my eyes as we all sang, Say something! and it says 'I burn'. All of us, newly departed from our homes, beginning our independent lives, burning with fear and excitement. Today, as dusk falls earlier, the remembrance of that younger fear and anticipation is a poignant reminder. Change of season or changes in life. All can be met with joy rather than dread. We may choose something like a star, to stay our minds on and be staid.

Choose Something Like A Star
by the Manitou Singers of St. Olaf College
Sigrid Johnson Conductor available on iTunes here

1 comment:

  1. This is so interesting..My studies were primarily in French..I never studied the great poets.
    What a lovely memory you have.
    I have however wished upon a star for certain many times:)


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