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Lesser Known Poems of Robert Frost


Underneath the Frost-ing . . .

Robert Frost has written many wonderful poems that do not get the airtime they deserve. His most beloved poems are so for a good reason, but there are many other remarkable verses. That's why I made this page, to share some of Frost's lesser known works.


The rain to the wind said,

"You push and I'll pelt."

They so smote the garden bed

That the flowers actually knelt,

And lay lodged -- though not dead.

I know how the flowers felt.


A Time To Talk

When a friend calls to me from the road

And slows his horse to a meaning walk,

I don't stand still and look around

On all the hills I haven't hoed,

And shout from where I am "What is it?"

No, not as there is a time to talk.

I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,

Blade-end up and five feet tall,

And plod: I go up to the stone wall

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For a friendly visit.



Lord, I have loved Your sky,

Be it said against or for me,

Have loved it clear and high,

Or low and stormy;

Till I have reeled and stumbled

From looking up too much,

And fallen and been humbled

To wear a crutch.

My love for every Heaven

O'er which You, Lord, have lorded,

From number One to Seven,

Should be rewarded.

It may not give me hope

That when I am translated

My scalp will in the cope

Be constellated.

But if that seems to tend

To my undue renown,

At least it ought to send

Me up, not down.


Leaves Compared with Flowers

A tree's leaves may be ever so good,

So may its bark, so may its wood;

But unless you put the right thing to its root

It never will show much flower or fruit.

But I may be one who does not care

Ever to have tree bloom or bear.

Leaves for smooth and bark for rough,

Leaves and bark may be tree enough.

Some giant trees have bloom so small

They might as well have none at all.

Late in life I have come on fern.

Now lichens are due to have their turn.

I bade men tell me which in brief,

Which is fairer, flower or leaf.

They did not have the wit to say,

Leaves by night and flowers by day.

Leaves and bark, leaves and bark,

To lean against and hear in the dark.

Petals I may have once pursued.

Leaves are all my darker mood.

Robert Frost: A Life


In A Glass of Cider

It seemed I was a mite of sediment

That waited for the bottom to ferment

So I could catch a bubble in ascent.

I rode up on one till the bubble burst,

And when that left me to sink back reversed

I was no worse off than I was at first.

I'd catch another bubble if I waited.

The thing was to get now and then elated.



Never have I been sad or glad

That there was such a thing as bad.

There had to be, I understood,

For there to have been any good.

It was by having been contrasted

The good and bad so long had lasted.

That's why discrimination reigns.

That's why we need a lot of brains

If only to discriminate

"Twixt what to love and what to hate.

To quote the oracle of Delphi,

Love thou thy neighbor as thyself, aye,

And hate him as thyself thou hatest.

There quandary is at its greatest.

We learned from the forbidden fruit

For brains there is no substitute.

"Unless it's sweetbreads," you suggest

With innuendo I detest.

You drive me to confess in ink:

Once I was fool enough to think

That brains and sweetbreads were the same,

Till I was caught and put to shame,

First by a butcher, then a cook,

Then by a scientific book.

But 'twas by making sweetbreads do

I passed with such a high I.Q.


Closed for Good

Much as I own I owe

The passers of the past

Because their to and fro

Has cut this road to last,

I owe them more today

Because they've gone away

And come not back with steed

And chariot to chide

My slowness with their speed

And scare me to one side.

They have found other scenes

For haste and other means.

They leave the road to me

To walk in saying naught

Perhaps but to a tree

Inaudibly in thought,

"From you the road receives

A priming coat of leaves.

"And soon for lack of sun,

The prospects are in white

It will be further done

But with a coat so light

The shape of leaves will show

Beneath the brush of snow."

And so on into winter

Till even I have ceased

To come as a foot printer,

And only some slight beast

So mousy or so foxy

Shall print there as my proxy.


Autumn, New England


A Patch of Old Snow

There's a patch of old snow in a corner,

That I should have guessed

Was a blow away paper the rain

Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if

Small print overspread it,

The news of a day I've forgotten --

If I ever read it.


Acquainted With the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.

I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.

I have passed by the watchman on his beat

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet

When far away an interrupted cry

Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-by;

And further still at an unearthly height

One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.

I have been one acquainted with the night.


Questioning Faces

The winter owl banked just in time to pass

And save herself from breaking window glass.

And her wings straining suddenly aspread

Caught color from the last of evening red

In a display of underdown and quill

To glassed-in children at the windowsill.


Good Hours

I had for my winter evening walk --

No one at all with whom to talk,

But I had the cottages in a row

Up to their shining eyes in snow.

And I thought I had the folk within:

I had the sound of a violin;

I had a glimpse through curtain laces

Of youthful forms and youthful faces.

I had such company outward bound.

I went till there were no cottages found.

I turned and repented, but coming back

I saw no window but that was black.

Over the snow my creaking feet

Disturbed the slumbering village street

Like profanation, by your leave,

At ten o'clock of a winter eve.

A Taste of Frost's Humor


Our Hold On the Planet

We asked for rain. It didn't flash and roar.

It didn't lose its temper at our demand

And blow a gale. It didn't misunderstand

And give us more than our spokesman bargained for;

And just because we owned to a wish for rain,

Send us a flood and bid us be damned and drown.

It gently threw us a glittering shower down.

And when we had taken that into the roots of grain,

It threw us another and then another still,

Till the spongy soil again was natal wet.

We may doubt the just proportion of good to ill.

There is much in nature against us. But we forget;

Take nature altogether since time began,

Including human nature, in peace and war,

And it must be a little more in favor of man,

Say a fraction of one percent at the very least,

Or our number living wouldn't be steadily more,

Our hold on the planet wouldn't have so increased.

Frost Complete


Bond and Free

Love has earth to which she clings

With hills and circling arms about --

Wall within wall to shut fear out.

But Thought has need of no such things,

For Thought has a pair of dauntless wings.

On snow and sand and turf, I see

Where Love has left a printed trace

With straining in the world's embrace.

And such is Love and glad to be.

But Thought has shaken his ankles free.

Though cleaves the interstellar gloom

And sits in Sirius' disc all night,

Till day makes him retrace his flight,

With smell of burning on every plume,

Back past the sun to an earthly room

His gains in heaven are what they are.

Yet some say Love by being thrall

And simply staying possesses all

In several beauty that Thought fares far

To find fused in another star.

art: alexmoorhees / photobucket



We saw leaves go to glory,

Then almost migratory

Go part way down the lane,

And then to end the story

Get beaten down and pasted

In one wild day of rain.

We heard " 'Tis over" roaring.

A year of leaves was wasted.

Oh, we make a boast of storing,

Of saving and of keeping,

But only by ignoring

The waste of moments sleeping,

The waste of pleasure weeping,

By denying and ignoring

The waste of nations warring.

photo: AndySerrano / photobucket


Frost Farm


Accidentally On Purpose

The Universe is but the Thing of things,

The things but balls all going round in rings.

Some of them mighty huge, some mighty tiny,

All of them radiant and mighty shiny.

They mean to tell us all was rolling blind

Till accidentally it hit on mind

In an albino monkey in a jungle,

And even then it had to grope and bungle,

Till Darwin came to earth upon a year

To show the evolution how to steer.

They mean to tell us, though, the Omnibus

Has no real purpose till it got to us.

Never believe it. At the very worst

It must have had the purpose from the first

To produce purpose as the fitter bred:

We were just purpose coming to a head.

Whose purpose was it? His or Hers or Its?

Let's leave that to the scientific wits.

Grant me intention, purpose, and design --

That's near enough for me to the Divine.

And yet for all this help of head and brain

How happily instinctive we remain,

Our best guide upward further to the light,

Passionate preference such as love at sight.


Dust of Snow

The way a crow

Shook down on me

The dust of snow

From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart

A change of mood

And saved some part

Of a day I had rued.


The Line Gang

Here come the line-gang pioneering by.

They throw a forest down less cut than broken.

They plant dead tress for living, and the dead

They string together with a living thread.

They string an instrument against the sky

Wherein words whether beaten out or spoken

Will run as hushed as when they were a thought.

But in no hush they string it: they go past

With shouts afar to pull the cable taut,

To hold it hard until they make it fast,

To ease away -- they have it. With a laugh,

An oath of towns that set the wild at naught,

They bring the telephone and telegraph.


The Milky Way Is A Cowpath

On wings too stiff to flap

We started to exult

In having left the map

On journey the penult.

But since we got nowhere,

Like small boys we got mad

And let go at the air

With everything we had.

Incorrigible Quidnuncs,

We would see what would come

Of pelting heaven with chunks

Of crude uranium.

At last in self-collapse

We owned up to our wife

The Milky Way perhaps

Was woman's way of life.

Our un-outwitted spouse

Replied she had as soon

Believe it was the cow's

That overshot the moon.

The parabolic curve

Of her celestial track,

As any might observe,

Might never bring her back.

The famous foster nurse

Of man and womankind

Had for the universe

Left trivia behind;

And gone right on astray

Through let-down pasture bars

Along the Milky Way

A-foraging on stars,

Perennial as flowers

To whereas some allege

This universe of ours

Has got a razor edge;

And if she don't take care

She'll get her gullet cut,

But that is no affair

Of anybody's but --

The author of these words,

Whose lifelong unconcern

Has been with flocks and herds

For what they didn't earn.

Comments Always Welcome!

Missy Smith from Florida on March 07, 2016:

What a great tribute to one of the most talented poets who ever was, and though I didn't know him personally, of course, I believe he had a tremendous soul with misunderstood character.

I have not read more than a few of these, so this was a wonderful hub to come across. I sometimes go to YouTube where I can hear Mr. Frost himself recite some of his better-known poetry. He tells his tales better than anyone could.

I think I liked "Leaves Compared With Flowers" the best, but who can really choose a favorite from a grand list of poems like this.

The pictures were nostalgic. I love that old rusted mailbox sitting in the middle of tall weeds. I can smell the country air and hear the screened in door slamming. Rocks on an old dirt road as a neighbor drove up. What can I say, my mom is from the North Georgia Mountains, we visited her family often through the years. :)

Thanks for sharing!

DeltaLi on June 29, 2011:

Very please to find this .., thank you :)

Norbert Isles from Philippines on June 13, 2011:

Awesome poetry selection and images. Love Robert Frost even more.

Joan Hall from Los Angeles on July 01, 2010:

This is lovely.

Indigo Janson from UK on April 05, 2010:

Wonderful to discover these lesser-known Frost poems here, and nicely presented.

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