So you can read my books

Tuesday, February 27, 2024


"Science says the first word on everything, and the last word on nothing"  – Victor Hugo

What thoughts do you habitually think before sleep claims you?  Do you keep track of such things?

Science does but the conclusions are conflicting

so you can pretty much believe what you want on such matters with some scientist's blessings.

Last night, I was mulling over Robert Frost's evocative poem about the winter wind and a lovely window flower.

She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.

When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the caged yellow bird
Hung over her in tune,

He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by,
To come again at dark.
He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.

Before the rest of the poem could murmur within my sleepy brain, a thin, reedy voice spoke to my right.

My ghost cat, Gypsy, yowled her "I am the only friggin' ghost allowed here tonight" yowl.

"All literature begins with geography."

I pried lead-heavy eyelids reluctantly open.

Gypsy shoved her tiny head under my pillow, grumbling low. Robert Frost smiled at her from his ghost chair by my bed.

He gazed off into the darkness and murmured one of the last lines he ever wrote while alive:

"Unless I'm wrong
I but obey
The urge of a song

And I may return
If dissatisfied
With what I learn
From having died."

He turned his eyes back to me.

"As it turned out, I was quite satisfied with what I learned. But Elinor has chased me out of our celestial farm tonight."

He rubbed his chin ruefully.

"She says I always get insufferable on this day."

Gypsy pulled her head out from under the pillow and yowled. Robert Frost shook his head and answered my cat.

"Upon this day in 1963 I learned that my "In the Clearing" collection had won the Bollingen Prize for best book of American verse, 1962. It oddly pleased me to no end for some reason."

I tried to blink some clarity to the fog of my awakening mind. "Ah, Mr. Frost ...."

"Rob, please."

"Uh, Rob, do you really think all literature begins with geography?"

He laughed.

"Starting with absolute pronouncements is an old teaching trick, Roland.

You were a teacher as was I. You know that. It is human nature to rail against them, to kick holes in them, thus thinking through your own beliefs in the meantime."

He pursed his lips like a troubled librarian for a moment.

"But geography certainly shaped my own poetry. You could call these places "Frost Country":

San Francisco, Lawrence, Derry, England, Franconia, Shaftsbury, Ripton and Bennington. These are the literary time capsules of my beliefs and will enrich your enjoyment of my poetry."

Gypsy angrily muttered under her feline breath, and Robert Frost chuckled, "No that is not the reason I disturbed your sleep, ghost-cat."

He patted his knees.

"I wanted to tell you, Roland, to persevere. You, and all your blog friends, have more talent than you believe, and this new year will bring fresh harvests."

He rose slowly, smiling ruefully.

"By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day."

He started to fade like a dream upon awakening.

"No great wisdom from beyond I'm afraid. In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."

He tapped my shoulder with all-but-invisible hand.

"Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense."

The last thing I saw was his faint smile.

"Now, back home to Elinor. Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

And he was gone.

So? Do you have any tricks you use when you want to make your readers think?

And do you think Rob was right? Does all literature begin with geography? Do the important places in your life affect how and what you write?

What thoughts do you usually mull over as you drift off to sleep?



  1. Roland, except for "found poetry" (which carries its own rules and peculiarities), I try to start the first line with a statement of fact, of truth as I know it ... because as all writers know, "Quid est veritas."

    As for sleep, I find it comes less and less easily as I age. I rely on listening to my breathing and clearing my head of thoughts.

  2. Pilate didn't really mean the question he asked of Jesus, for he didn't stay for the answer.

    What did Stephen Crane write? "'Truth,' said a traveller, 'Is a rock, a mighty fortress; Often have I been to it, Even to its highest tower, From whence the world looks black ...'

    May sleep come easier for you tonight, Misky. :-)