Closed For Good

Robert Frost

Much as I own I owe
The passers of the past
Because their to and fro
Has cut this road to last,
I owe them more today
Because they’ve gone away

And come not back with steed
And chariot to chide
My slowness with their speed
And scare me to one side.
They have found other scenes
For haste and other means.

They leave the road to me
To walk in saying naught
Perhaps but to a tree
Inaudibly in thought,
“From you the road receives
A priming coat of leaves.

“And soon for lack of sun,
The prospects are in white
It will be further done,
But with a coat so light
The shape of leaves will show
Beneath the brush of snow.”

And so on into winter
Till even I have ceased
To come as a foot printer,
And only some slight beast
So mousy or so foxy
Shall print there as my proxy.

How often is the case
I thus pay men a debt
For having left a place
And still do not forget
To pay them some sweet share
For having once been there.


Robert Frost was an American poet and four-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. He died in 1963.
Originally published:
July 1, 1949

Featured

Community

Finding company on and off the page
Carl Phillips

Conversations

Emily Ogden and Dana Spiotta

Reckoning with middle age and complicity
Emily Ogden
and
Dana Spiotta

The Stakes of Dictee

An introduction to a famously difficult work
Ken Chen

You Might Also Like

Take My Vows

Dorothy Parker

Sunrise

Louise Glück

In Those Years

Adrienne Rich

Subscribe

Help keep print culture alive. For a limited time, enjoy 10% off two- and three-year subscriptions.
Subscribe