Birches, bitchesBy http://profile.typepad.com/1237764140s22740 // January 26, 2014 in Art
Having caught up with Breaking Bad and now watched the final episode, I've figured out what Jesse Pinkman's favorite Robert Frost poem, from high school sophomore English class, must necessarily be.
It must be "The Birches":
Frost was a complicated person - was he a Heisenberg in the lives of those who knew him? - but he had a gift for toeing a metrical line within conversational syntax in a way that could make words strange and palpable.
There are false notes in "Birches." The grandiose and self-important metacommentary at the end - "earth's the right place for love" - is drivel. But the sheer audacity of committing to a verbal painting of the impact of an ice storm on birch trees, and meditating on how a child's curiousity mediates nature - that's thrilling.
The lines in "The Birches" that give me chills - and you should hear Frost read these lines in a recording available via the Poetry Foundation app - unfold a similie to describe how bent birches, after the ice storm, survive for years under the majestic if indifferent dome of heaven:
Wow. If you show up every day, can you sometimes write lines like that?