A Star In A Stoneboat Poem by Robert Frost

A Star In A Stoneboat

Rating: 4.6

For Lincoln MacVeagh

Never tell me that not one star of all
That slip from heaven at night and softly fall
Has been picked up with stones to build a wall.

Some laborer found one faded and stone-cold,
And saving that its weight suggested gold
And tugged it from his first too certain hold,

He noticed nothing in it to remark.
He was not used to handling stars thrown dark
And lifeless from an interrupted arc.

He did not recognize in that smooth coal
The one thing palpable besides the soul
To penetrate the air in which we roll.

He did not see how like a flying thing
It brooded ant eggs, and bad one large wing,
One not so large for flying in a ring,

And a long Bird of Paradise's tail
(Though these when not in use to fly and trail
It drew back in its body like a snail):

Nor know that be might move it from the spot—
The harm was done: from having been star-shot
The very nature of the soil was hot

And burning to yield flowers instead of grain,
Flowers fanned and not put out by all the rain
Poured on them by his prayers prayed in vain.

He moved it roughly with an iron bar,
He loaded an old stoneboat with the star
And not, as you might think, a flying car,

Such as even poets would admit perforce
More practical than Pegasus the horse
If it could put a star back in its course.

He dragged it through the plowed ground at a pace
But faintly reminiscent of the race
Of jostling rock in interstellar space.

It went for building stone, and I, as though
Commanded in a dream, forever go
To right the wrong that this should have been so.

Yet ask where else it could have gone as well,
I do not know—I cannot stop to tell:
He might have left it lying where it fell.

From following walls I never lift my eye,
Except at night to places in the sky
Where showers of charted meteors let fly.

Some may know what they seek in school and church,
And why they seek it there; for what I search
I must go measuring stone walls, perch on perch;

Sure that though not a star of death and birth,
So not to be compared, perhaps, in worth
To such resorts of life as Mars and Earth—

Though not, I say, a star of death and sin,
It yet has poles, and only needs a spin
To show its worldly nature and begin

To chafe and shuffle in my calloused palm
And run off in strange tangents with my arm,
As fish do with the line in first alarm.

Such as it is, it promises the prize
Of the one world complete in any size
That I am like to compass, fool or wise.

Thursday, January 15, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: star
Bhagabat Prasad Hotta 01 November 2018


3 2 Reply
Aniruddha Pathak 04 August 2019

Robert Frost for his straight and uncomplicated diction, no wonder this is a great piece.

4 0 Reply
Bernard F. Asuncion 04 August 2019

I enjoy this fantastic poem of Robert Frost...

1 1 Reply
Adeeb Alfateh 04 August 2019

Such as even poets would admit perforce More practical than Pegasus the horse If it could put a star back in its course. greatly penned great 10++++

1 1 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 04 August 2019

To chafe and shuffle! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

1 1 Reply
Lisa Flores 29 November 2021


0 1 Reply
Adella Banes 04 January 2021

I loved this poem, I was brought into the poem while reading it. Definitely five stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

0 1 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 01 January 2021

To the wonderful family of the late Robert Frost CONGRATULATIONS for being chosen by Poem Hunter. Always happy to read his brilliant poems

1 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 01 January 2021

Such a greatest pleasure his poems. Must I click for thge 5 Stars? I did that.

1 0 Reply
Harley White 01 January 2020

It's always a pleasure to read poems by Frost...

1 0 Reply
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