In this eighth season of The Well Read Poem, we are reading six
poems about birds. Since antiquity, birds have supplied rich
material to poets, being by turns regal, charming, absurd,
delicate, dangerous, and philosophical creatures. This season is
dedicated to the animal lovers in our audience, particularly to
Emily Raible who suggested the subject in the first place.
Today's poem is "The Oven Bird" by Robert Frost. Poem begins at
There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.