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The Oven Bird

Tuesday, July 10, 2012





The Oven Bird
BY ROBERT FROST

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.


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What a smart bird. He has learned "in singing not to sing" and ponders his own aging and diminishment. I love the great tradition of bird poems.

The Oven Bird's name comes from the appearance of its nest: it looks like an old-fashioned oven, or kiln.
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