Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Robert Frost: Unharvested


A scent of ripeness from over a wall.
And come to leave the routine road
And look for what has made me stall,
There sure enough was an apple tree
That had eased itself of its summer load,
And of all but its trivial foliage free,
Now breathed as light as a lady’s fan.
For there had been an apple fall
As complete as the apple had given man.
The ground was one circle of solid red.

May something go always unharvested!
May much stay out of our stated plan,
Apples or something forgotten and left,
So smelling their sweetness would be no theft.


Anonymous said...

In "Unharvested," you're missing a word. Line eight contains another "there." The complete line is "For there there had been an apple fall".


G. Jones

J.K.Kelley said...

Really? I can't seem to verify this correction. What text are you using?

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Poem should have another "there"..... reference the book "Poems For Hard Times" selected poems by Garrison Keilor

Anonymous said...

He's right the correct reading is "For there there had been an apple fall." He means to say: For there (as in that place) there had been (an action)...

Source: Helen Vendler's Poems, Poets, Poetry 2nd ed page 101

Anonymous said...

My copy of Frost's COLLECTED POEMS also reads "For there there had been an apple fall"

Anonymous said...

Nonetheless, most online sources, including Garrison Keiler's "Poetry Almanac" supply only one "there" in the line. I wonder if this is a matter of the poet's own revision after many years or simply an error in transcription.

3rd Tyrant said...

Latham, Edward Connery, ed. The Poetry of Robert Frost. New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1969.

"For there there had been and apple fall"

It's probably unwise to rely on online versions (no insult intended), just because the conversion to online text might see "there there" as a double word and delete the second "there." One will not find Frost's revision of this, because he wouldn't have revised the line that fits perfectly his four-foot line.

In case it matters, I think it ought to be "there there."

Thanks for posting this fine poem, by the way.


3rd Tyrant said...

It might be unwise to rely on online sources of this poem for two reasons: first, anything online is less reliable than in print--at least academically, and, second, the transfer to text might have deleted the second there as a repeated word--a la autocorrect.

The edition I'm looking at (Latham, 1969), lists the double "there," and this fits very nicely the rhythm, as well as Frost's habit of throwing an anapest in the middle of a bunch of iambs. Since Frost doesn't seem to have ever have been a rigid slave to form, there probably is no reason to dismiss this line as metrically unsound with the double "there."

Since it's in print, I go with the double word--much more Frostean, I would say.

Thanks for posting this great poem.

Daniel deB. Richter said...

Wow, now there is the essence of distraction. Back to Unharvested please!!