Work has been busy, and I’m still a day or two away from having time to post something more substantial. In the meantime, I wanted to share a poem I’ve been meditating on much of the day. It’s called “The Gift Outright” and it’s by Robert Frost. The poem touches on several themes that have come to occupy a central place in my thought life as a husband and father, friend, writer, and citizen – among them, the themes of home and submission to the land (staying put). It also makes me wonder if Wallace Stegner was right when he said that “no place is a place until it has had a poet,” and if I could I be the poet for some place.
The Gift Outright
The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.