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Robert Frost

(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963 / San Francisco)

A Considerable Speck


(Microscopic)

A speck that would have been beneath my sight
On any but a paper sheet so white
Set off across what I had written there.
And I had idly poised my pen in air
To stop it with a period of ink
When something strange about it made me think,
This was no dust speck by my breathing blown,
But unmistakably a living mite
With inclinations it could call its own.
It paused as with suspicion of my pen,
And then came racing wildly on again
To where my manuscript was not yet dry;
Then paused again and either drank or smelt--
With loathing, for again it turned to fly.
Plainly with an intelligence I dealt.
It seemed too tiny to have room for feet,
Yet must have had a set of them complete
To express how much it didn't want to die.
It ran with terror and with cunning crept.
It faltered: I could see it hesitate;
Then in the middle of the open sheet
Cower down in desperation to accept
Whatever I accorded it of fate.
I have none of the tenderer-than-thou
Collectivistic regimenting love
With which the modern world is being swept.
But this poor microscopic item now!
Since it was nothing I knew evil of
I let it lie there till I hope it slept.

I have a mind myself and recognize
Mind when I meet with it in any guise
No one can know how glad I am to find
On any sheet the least display of mind.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Comments about this poem (A Considerable Speck by Robert Frost )

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  • Kiana Epp (11/7/2012 8:04:00 PM)

    Every time I see a spec on a piece of paper I am going to think of this poem. Thanks Robert Frost (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (10/25/2012 9:36:00 PM)

    wow..a smart man who respects life..an admirable quality..a brilliant
    masterpiece from one of the master's of poetry.. :) (Report) Reply

  • Omoverere Alleluia (8/15/2012 8:52:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem.very well illustrated.literally found myself sitting at a table, peering down at a white sheet of paper, pen in hand (Report) Reply

  • Andrew Hoellering (2/24/2009 3:09:00 PM)

    Frost's description of intelligence in action is wonderfully graphic, and his ending, punning on the double meaning of mind, both satisfying and subtle.The poem perfectly illustrates what Albert Schweitzer meant by 'reverence for life.' (Report) Reply

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