Frost's 'Misgiving'by David Slavitt
It’s a nice conceit: in the first three stanzas he
imagines that leaves have feelings and on the tree
long to be loosed by the cold and wind to fly
free in the air they have been waiting to try.
They flutter and even whirl a little and then
may race across the ground a bit, but when
they’ve finished their brief jaunt, if we may call
so short an adventure that, they find some wall
to huddle against and wait to rot. It would
be one of his better poems if only he could
have skipped the ending, his fear of death, his wan
hope for another life after he’s gone.
He knew how to stop by the woods and leave it to us
to figure out what he meant without the fuss
of an explanation. Pour until the cup
is full but then stop. Know when to shut up.