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Best Famous Out Of The Woods Poems

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Written by Robert Frost | Create an image from this poem

The Death of the Hired Man

 Mary sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table
Waiting for Warren.
When she heard his step, She ran on tip-toe down the darkened passage To meet him in the doorway with the news And put him on his guard.
'Silas is back.
' She pushed him outward with her through the door And shut it after her.
"Be kind,' she said.
She took the market things from Warren's arms And set them on the porch, then drew him down To sit beside her on the wooden steps.
'When was I ever anything but kind to him? But I'll not have the fellow back,' he said.
'I told him so last haying, didn't I? "If he left then," I said, "that ended it.
" What good is he? Who else will harbour him At his age for the little he can do? What help he is there's no depending on.
Off he goes always when I need him most.
'He thinks he ought to earn a little pay, Enough at least to buy tobacco with, won't have to beg and be beholden.
" "All right," I say "I can't afford to pay Any fixed wages, though I wish I could.
" "Someone else can.
" "Then someone else will have to.
I shouldn't mind his bettering himself If that was what it was.
You can be certain, When he begins like that, there's someone at him Trying to coax him off with pocket-money, -- In haying time, when any help is scarce.
In winter he comes back to us.
I'm done.
' 'Shh I not so loud: he'll hear you,' Mary said.
'I want him to: he'll have to soon or late.
' 'He's worn out.
He's asleep beside the stove.
When I came up from Rowe's I found him here, Huddled against the barn-door fast asleep, A miserable sight, and frightening, too- You needn't smile -- I didn't recognize him- I wasn't looking for him- and he's changed.
Wait till you see.
' 'Where did you say he'd been? 'He didn't say.
I dragged him to the house, And gave him tea and tried to make him smoke.
I tried to make him talk about his travels.
Nothing would do: he just kept nodding off.
' 'What did he say? Did he say anything?' 'But little.
' 'Anything? Mary, confess He said he'd come to ditch the meadow for me.
' 'Warren!' 'But did he? I just want to know.
' 'Of course he did.
What would you have him say? Surely you wouldn't grudge the poor old man Some humble way to save his self-respect.
He added, if you really care to know, He meant to dear the upper pasture, too.
That sounds like something you have heard before? Warren, I wish you could have heard the way He jumbled everything.
I stopped to look Two or three times -- he made me feel so *****-- To see if he was talking in his sleep.
He ran on Harold Wilson -- you remember - The boy you had in haying four years since.
He's finished school, and teaching in his college.
Silas declares you'll have to get him back.
He says they two will make a team for work: Between them they will lay this farm as smooth! The way he mixed that in with other things.
He thinks young Wilson a likely lad, though daft On education -- you know how they fought All through July under the blazing sun, Silas up on the cart to build the load, Harold along beside to pitch it on.
' 'Yes, I took care to keep well out of earshot.
' 'Well, those days trouble Silas like a dream.
You wouldn't think they would.
How some things linger! Harold's young college boy's assurance piqued him.
After so many years he still keeps finding Good arguments he sees he might have used.
I sympathize.
I know just how it feels To think of the right thing to say too late.
Harold's associated in his mind with Latin.
He asked me what I thought of Harold's saying He studied Latin like the violin Because he liked it -- that an argument! He said he couldn't make the boy believe He could find water with a hazel prong-- Which showed how much good school had ever done him.
He wanted to go over that.
'But most of all He thinks if he could have another chance To teach him how to build a load of hay --' 'I know, that's Silas' one accomplishment.
He bundles every forkful in its place, And tags and numbers it for future reference, So he can find and easily dislodge it In the unloading.
Silas does that well.
He takes it out in bunches like big birds' nests.
You never see him standing on the hay He's trying to lift, straining to lift himself.
' 'He thinks if he could teach him that, he'd be Some good perhaps to someone in the world.
He hates to see a boy the fool of books.
Poor Silas, so concerned for other folk, And nothing to look backward to with pride, And nothing to look forward to with hope, So now and never any different.
' Part of a moon was filling down the west, Dragging the whole sky with it to the hills.
Its light poured softly in her lap.
She saw And spread her apron to it.
She put out her hand Among the harp-like morning-glory strings, Taut with the dew from garden bed to eaves, As if she played unheard the tenderness That wrought on him beside her in the night.
'Warren,' she said, 'he has come home to die: You needn't be afraid he'll leave you this time.
' 'Home,' he mocked gently.
'Yes, what else but home? It all depends on what you mean by home.
Of course he's nothing to us, any more then was the hound that came a stranger to us Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.
' 'Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.
' 'I should have called it Something you somehow haven't to deserve.
' Warren leaned out and took a step or two, Picked up a little stick, and brought it back And broke it in his hand and tossed it by.
'Silas has better claim on' us, you think, Than on his brother? Thirteen little miles As the road winds would bring him to his door.
Silas has walked that far no doubt to-day.
Why didn't he go there? His brother's rich, A somebody- director in the bank.
' 'He never told us that.
' 'We know it though.
' 'I think his brother ought to help, of course.
I'll see to that if there is need.
He ought of right To take him in, and might be willing to- He may be better than appearances.
But have some pity on Silas.
Do you think If he'd had any pride in claiming kin Or anything he looked for from his brother, He'd keep so still about him all this time?' 'I wonder what's between them.
' 'I can tell you.
Silas is what he is -- we wouldn't mind him-- But just the kind that kinsfolk can't abide.
He never did a thing so very bad.
He don't know why he isn't quite as good As anyone.
He won't be made ashamed To please his brother, worthless though he is.
' 'I can't think Si ever hurt anyone.
' 'No, but he hurt my heart the way he lay And rolled his old head on that sharp-edged chair-back.
He wouldn't let me put him on the lounge.
You must go in and see what you can do.
I made the bed up for him there to-night.
You'll be surprised at him -- how much he's broken.
His working days are done; I'm sure of it.
' 'I'd not be in a hurry to say that.
' 'I haven't been.
Go, look, see for yourself.
But, Warren, please remember how it is: He' come to help you ditch the meadow.
He has a plan, You mustn't laugh at him.
He may not speak of it, and then he may.
I'll sit and see if that small sailing cloud Will hit or miss the moon.
' It hit the moon.
Then there were three there, making a dim row, The moon, the little silver cloud, and she.
Warren returned-- too soon, it seemed to her, Slipped to her side, caught up her hand and waited.
'Warren?' she questioned.
'Dead,' was all he answered.

Written by Sidney Lanier | Create an image from this poem

A Ballad Of The Trees And The Master

 Into the woods my Master went,
Clean forspent, forspent.
Into the woods my Master came, Forspent with love and shame.
But the olives they were not blind to Him, The little gray leaves were kind to Him: The thorn-tree had a mind to Him When into the woods He came.
Out of the woods my Master went, And He was well content.
Out of the woods my Master came, Content with death and shame.
When Death and Shame would woo Him last, From under the trees they drew Him last: 'Twas on a tree they slew Him -- last When out of the woods He came.
Written by Eugene Field | Create an image from this poem

The peter-bird

 Out of the woods by the creek cometh a calling for Peter,
And from the orchard a voice echoes and echoes it over;
Down in the pasture the sheep hear that strange crying for Peter,
Over the meadows that call is aye and forever repeated.
So let me tell you the tale, when, where, and how it all happened, And, when the story is told, let us pay heed to the lesson.
Once on a time, long ago, lived in the State of Kentucky One that was reckoned a witch--full of strange spells and devices; Nightly she wandered the woods, searching for charms voodooistic-- Scorpions, lizards, and herbs, dormice, chameleons, and plantains! Serpents and caw-caws and bats, screech-owls and crickets and adders-- These were the guides of that witch through the dank deeps of the forest.
Then, with her roots and her herbs, back to her cave in the morning Ambled that hussy to brew spells of unspeakable evil; And, when the people awoke, seeing that hillside and valley Sweltered in swathes as of mist--"Look!" they would whisper in terror-- "Look! the old witch is at work brewing her spells of great evil!" Then would they pray till the sun, darting his rays through the vapor, Lifted the smoke from the earth and baffled the witch's intentions.
One of the boys at that time was a certain young person named Peter, Given too little to work, given too largely to dreaming; Fonder of books than of chores, you can imagine that Peter Led a sad life on the farm, causing his parents much trouble.
"Peter!" his mother would call, "the cream is a'ready for churning!" "Peter!" his father would cry, "go grub at the weeds in the garden!" So it was "Peter!" all day--calling, reminding, and chiding-- Peter neglected his work; therefore that nagging at Peter! Peter got hold of some books--how, I'm unable to tell you; Some have suspected the witch--this is no place for suspicions! It is sufficient to stick close to the thread of the legend.
Nor is it stated or guessed what was the trend of those volumes; What thing soever it was--done with a pen and a pencil, Wrought with a brain, not a hoe--surely 't was hostile to farming! "Fudge on all readin'!" they quoth; or "that's what's the ruin of Peter!" So, when the mornings were hot, under the beech or the maple, Cushioned in grass that was blue, breathing the breath of the blossoms, Lulled by the hum of the bees, the coo of the ring-doves a-mating, Peter would frivol his time at reading, or lazing, or dreaming.
"Peter!" his mother would call, "the cream is a'ready for churning!" "Peter!" his father would cry, "go grub at the weeds in the garden!" "Peter!" and "Peter!" all day--calling, reminding, and chiding-- Peter neglected his chores; therefore that outcry for Peter; Therefore the neighbors allowed evil would surely befall him-- Yes, on account of these things, ruin would come upon Peter! Surely enough, on a time, reading and lazing and dreaming Wrought the calamitous ill all had predicted for Peter; For, of a morning in spring when lay the mist in the valleys-- "See," quoth the folk, "how the witch breweth her evil decoctions! See how the smoke from her fire broodeth on woodland and meadow! Grant that the sun cometh out to smother the smudge of her caldron! She hath been forth in the night, full of her spells and devices, Roaming the marshes and dells for heathenish magical nostrums; Digging in leaves and at stumps for centipedes, pismires, and spiders, Grubbing in poisonous pools for hot salamanders and toadstools; Charming the bats from the flues, snaring the lizards by twilight, Sucking the scorpion's egg and milking the breast of the adder!" Peter derided these things held in such faith by the farmer, Scouted at magic and charms, hooted at Jonahs and hoodoos-- Thinking and reading of books must have unsettled his reason! "There ain't no witches," he cried; "it isn't smoky, but foggy! I will go out in the wet--you all can't hender me, nuther!" Surely enough he went out into the damp of the morning, Into the smudge that the witch spread over woodland and meadow, Into the fleecy gray pall brooding on hillside and valley.
Laughing and scoffing, he strode into that hideous vapor; Just as he said he would do, just as he bantered and threatened, Ere they could fasten the door, Peter had done gone and done it! Wasting his time over books, you see, had unsettled his reason-- Soddened his callow young brain with semi-pubescent paresis, And his neglect of his chores hastened this evil condition.
Out of the woods by the creek cometh a calling for Peter And from the orchard a voice echoes and echoes it over; Down in the pasture the sheep hear that shrill crying for Peter, Up from the spring house the wail stealeth anon like a whisper, Over the meadows that call is aye and forever repeated.
Such were the voices that whooped wildly and vainly for Peter Decades and decades ago down in the State of Kentucky-- Such are the voices that cry now from the woodland and meadow, "Peter--O Peter!" all day, calling, reminding, and chiding-- Taking us back to the time when Peter he done gone and done it! These are the voices of those left by the boy in the farmhouse When, with his laughter and scorn, hatless and bootless and sockless, Clothed in his jeans and his pride, Peter sailed out in the weather, Broke from the warmth of his home into that fog of the devil, Into the smoke of that witch brewing her damnable porridge! Lo, when he vanished from sight, knowing the evil that threatened, Forth with importunate cries hastened his father and mother.
"Peter!" they shrieked in alarm, "Peter!" and evermore "Peter!"-- Ran from the house to the barn, ran from the barn to the garden, Ran to the corn-crib anon, then to the smoke-house proceeded; Henhouse and woodpile they passed, calling and wailing and weeping, Through the front gate to the road, braving the hideous vapor-- Sought him in lane and on pike, called him in orchard and meadow, Clamoring "Peter!" in vain, vainly outcrying for Peter.
Joining the search came the rest, brothers and sisters and cousins, Venting unspeakable fears in pitiful wailing for Peter! And from the neighboring farms gathered the men and the women, Who, upon hearing the news, swelled the loud chorus for Peter.
Farmers and hussifs and maids, bosses and field-hands and niggers, Colonels and jedges galore from cornfields and mint-beds and thickets, All that had voices to voice, all to those parts appertaining, Came to engage in the search, gathered and bellowed for Peter.
The Taylors, the Dorseys, the Browns, the Wallers, the Mitchells, the Logans, The Yenowines, Crittendens, Dukes, the Hickmans, the Hobbses, the Morgans; The Ormsbys, the Thompsons, the Hikes, the Williamsons, Murrays, and Hardins, The Beynroths, the Sherleys, the Hokes, the Haldermans, Harneys, and Slaughters-- All, famed in Kentucky of old for prowess prodigious at farming, Now surged from their prosperous homes to join in that hunt for the truant, To ascertain where he was at, to help out the chorus for Peter.
Still on those prosperous farms where heirs and assigns of the people Specified hereinabove and proved by the records of probate-- Still on those farms shall you hear (and still on the turnpikes adjacent) That pitiful, petulant call, that pleading, expostulant wailing, That hopeless, monotonous moan, that crooning and droning for Peter.
Some say the witch in her wrath transmogrified all those good people; That, wakened from slumber that day by the calling and bawling for Peter, She out of her cave in a thrice, and, waving the foot of a rabbit (Crossed with the caul of a coon and smeared with the blood of a chicken), She changed all those folk into birds and shrieked with demoniac venom: "Fly away over the land, moaning your Peter forever, Croaking of Peter, the boy who didn't believe there were hoodoos, Crooning of Peter, the fool who scouted at stories of witches, Crying of Peter for aye, forever outcalling for Peter!" This is the story they tell; so in good sooth saith the legend; As I have told it to you, so tell the folk and the legend.
That it is true I believe, for on the breezes this morning Come the shrill voices of birds calling and calling for Peter; Out of the maple and beech glitter the eyes of the wailers, Peeping and peering for him who formerly lived in these places-- Peter, the heretic lad, lazy and careless and dreaming, Sorely afflicted with books and with pubescent paresis, Hating the things of the farm, care of the barn and the garden, Always neglecting his chores--given to books and to reading, Which, as all people allow, turn the young person to mischief, Harden his heart against toil, wean his affections from tillage.
This is the legend of yore told in the state of Kentucky When in the springtime the birds call from the beeches and maples, Call from the petulant thorn, call from the acrid persimmon; When from the woods by the creek and from the pastures and meadows, When from the spring house and lane and from the mint-bed and orchard, When from the redbud and gum and from the redolent lilac, When from the dirt roads and pikes cometh that calling for Peter; Cometh the dolorous cry, cometh that weird iteration Of "Peter" and "Peter" for aye, of "Peter" and "Peter" forever! This is the legend of old, told in the tum-titty meter Which the great poets prefer, being less labor than rhyming (My first attempt at the same, my last attempt, too, I reckon!); Nor have I further to say, for the sad story is ended.
Written by Robert Frost | Create an image from this poem

Pan with Us

 Pan came out of the woods one day,--
His skin and his hair and his eyes were gray,
The gray of the moss of walls were they,--
And stood in the sun and looked his fill
At wooded valley and wooded hill.
He stood in the zephyr, pipes in hand, On a height of naked pasture land; In all the country he did command He saw no smoke and he saw no roof.
That was well! and he stamped a hoof.
His heart knew peace, for none came here To this lean feeding save once a year Someone to salt the half-wild steer, Or homespun children with clicking pails Who see so little they tell no tales.
He tossed his pipes, too hard to teach A new-world song, far out of reach, For sylvan sign that the blue jay's screech And the whimper of hawks beside the sun Were music enough for him, for one.
Times were changed from what they were: Such pipes kept less of power to stir The fruited bough of the juniper And the fragile bluets clustered there Than the merest aimless breath of air.
They were pipes of pagan mirth, And the world had found new terms of worth.
He laid him down on the sun-burned earth And raveled a flower and looked away-- Play? Play?--What should he play?