Robert Frost

The Bear

The bear puts both arms around the tree above her And draws it down as if it were a lover And its chokecherries lips to kiss good-by, Then lets it snap back upright in the sky. Her next step rocks a boulder on the wall (She’s making her cross-country in the fall). Her great weight creaks the barbed wire in its staples As she flings over and off down through the maples, Leaving on one wire tooth a lock of hair. Such is the uncaged progress of the bear. The world has room to make a bear feel free; The universe seems cramped to you and me. Man acts more like the poor bear in a cage, That all day fights a nervous inward rage, His mood rejecting all his mind suggests. He paces back and forth and never rests The me-nail click and shuffle of his feet, The telescope at one end of his beat, And at the other end the microscope, Two instruments of nearly equal hope, And in conjunction giving quite a spread. Or if he rests from scientific tread, ‘Tis only to sit back and sway his head Through ninety-odd degrees of arc, it seems, Between two metaphysical extremes. He sits back on his fundamental butt With lifted snout and eyes (if any) shut (He almost looks religious but he’s not), And back and forth he sways from cheek to cheek, At one extreme agreeing with one Greek At the other agreeing with another Greek Which may be thought, but only so to speak. A baggy figure, equally pathetic When sedentary and when peripatetic.

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