Treasure Island

Robert Frost

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

Provide, Provide


The witch that came (the withered hag)
To wash the steps with pail and rag
Was once the beauty Abishag,

The picture pride of Hollywood.
Too many fall from great and good
For you to doubt the likelihood.

Die early and avoid the fate.
Or if predestined to die late,
Make up your mind to die in state.

Make the whole stock exchange your own!
If need be occupy a throne,
Where nobody can call you crone.

Some have relied on what they knew,
Others on being simply true.
What worked for them might work for you.

No memory of having starred
Atones for later disregard
Or keeps the end from being hard.

Better to go down dignified
With boughten friendship at your side
Than none at all. Provide, provide!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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  • Andrew Hoellering (7/21/2009 1:51:00 PM)

    Frost's poem is a reminder that life can be harsh and fate unforgiving.
    Beauty passes in a flash -don't bank on it because it is not going to last (verse 1.)
    The 'great and the good' are also likely to be afflicted by misfortune (verse 2.)
    The fourth verse might have been adopted as a credo by today's crooked financeers.Good luck, President Obama, in sorting them out, because you will need it.
    In the next more optimistic verse the key word is 'might.'
    Beauty and fame, like all rewards, are transitory, and the last verse brings this home in no uncertain a fashion.
    Is Frost in this atypical poem being cynical? I think not! (Report) Reply

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