North of Boston, published in 1915, established Robert Frost as a literary presence. The first poem in that volume, "The Pasture," opens:
I’M going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.
The springs of Helicon, sacred to the muses? No, the farmer clears dead leaves from a slowly thawing pasture spring on his hard scrabble farm North of Boston. Maybe that is our role too, to clean the pasture spring, "And wait to watch the water clear." As philanthropic advisors, we cannot always inspire others, but we can "rake the leaves away."
It is our role to watch, and harmonize our lives with the natural patterns we find ourselves embedded within. The poets of Hellicon knew it, and talked among themselves. The fools made a cult of it, they visit the groves and ape the words of the poets and do not understand, while many others silently contemplate the beauty right around them. Some few can express this ideas in a few simple words about a pasture spring, and we can connect his words to the poets of the ages. The sacred grove is all around us, all we have to do is open our eyes, to look on the world with the eyes of a child.
Horrors are also all around us, and thus the challenge to innocence. How to remain open and vulnerable, and to remain safe in a difficult world. If we cannot show our children what is happening in the world without cringing, how can we meet the world with innocent eyes?
We are all tired of the moral relativism of Realpolitik as a replacement of the simple values that a child can understand.
Posted by: Gerry | February 07, 2008 at 08:01 AM
Horace on his farm writes verse epistles to the leading Roman citizens, extolling the life of retired contemplation: Empire seen from its edges. Cultivate the garden within, as the world without becomes increasingly ruthless.
Posted by: phil | February 07, 2008 at 08:48 AM