I often read poetry at night. I think I feel things better when the day is done.
The Road Not Taken and Other Poems: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition), Robert Frost.
This collection has many poems I enjoy over and over like a child on a teeter totter. I think it’s because I’m delighted with anyone who writes feelings with words.
From Mending Wall:
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors?”
Comment: The quote, “Good fences make good neighbors,” is usually misinterpreted. Frost saw no useful purpose for the fence between his neighbor and himself. The poem reflects frustration that he tried and failed to get through to his closed-minded neighbor.
Application: Barriers limit influence and require authoritarian leadership.
Practice: Show interest in people today. Realize relationships enable results.
From The Exposed Nest:
This poem describes a child finding an exposed bird’s nest on the ground after a field of hay was mown. A child and an adult prop some hay around the nest to create shade for the babies. Here’s the ending.
You had begun, and gave them back their shade.
All this to prove we cared. Why is there then
No more to tell? We turned to other things.
I haven’t any memory – have you? –
Of ever coming to the place again
To see if the birds lived the first night through.
And so at last to learn to use their wings.
Comment: “We turned to other things.” I’m challenged to rise above half-done compassion.
Practice: It’s one thing to show compassion in the moment. The real challenge is to follow-up a few days later by asking, “How did that turn out?”
How has receiving compassion changed you?
How might you express whole-hearted compassion today?