Home‎ > ‎Library of America‎ > ‎Robert Frost‎ > ‎A Further Range‎ > ‎

Ten Mills


     I.    Precauti
            I never dared be radical when young
            For fear it would make me conservative when old. 

    II.   The Span of Life

            The old dog barks backward without getting up. 
            I can remember when he was a pup. 

    III.  The Wrights' Biplane

           This biplane is the shape of human flight. 
           Its name might better be First Motor Kite. 
           Its makers' name Time cannot get that wrong. 
For it was writ in heaven doubly Wright. 

    IV.  Assertive

            Let me be the one 
            To do what is done.

    V.   Evil Tendencies Cancel

            Will the blight end the chestnut? 
            The farmers rather guess not. 
            It keeps smouldering at the roots 
            And sending up new shoots 
            Till another parasite 
            Shall come to end the blight.

    VI.    Pertinax

            Let chaos storm! 
            Let cloud shapes swarm! 
            I wait for form.

  VII.   Waspish

            On glossy wires artistically bent, 
            He draws himself up to his full extent. 
            His natty wings with self-assurance perk. 
            His stinging quarters menacingly work. 
            Poor egotist, he has no way of knowing 
            But he's as good as anybody going. 

   VIII.  One Guess

            He has dust in his eyes and a fan for a wing, 
            A leg akimbo with which he can sing, 
            And a mouthful of dye stuff instead of a sting.

    IX. The Hardship of Accounting

            Never ask of money spent 
            Where the spender thinks it went. 
            Nobody was ever meant 
            To remember or invent 
            What he did with every cent.

  X.    Not All There

            I turned to speak to God 
            About the world's despair; 
            But to make bad matters worse 
            I found God wasn't there. 
            God turned to speak to me 
            (Don't anybody laugh) 
            God found I wasn't there 
            At least not over half. 

   XI. In Dives' Time      

            It is late at night and still I am losing, 
            But still I am steady and unaccusing. 

            As long as the Declaration guards 
            My right to be equal in number of cards, 

            It is nothing to me who runs the Dive. 
            Let's have a look at another five.