The Thinking 
Housewife
 

Be Like the Star

November 24, 2017

 

COMPOSER Randall Thompson (1899-1984) put seven Robert Frost poems to words in this gentle choral work titled “Frostiana.” The final poem (if you’d like to listen to that poem alone, you can find it here performed by the New York Choral Society) is “Choose Something Like a Star,” a moving reflection on the night sky. As Frost says, stars ask something of us here below.

CHOOSE SOMETHING LIKE A STAR

— Robert Frost

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud —
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.

Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says “I burn.”
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.

It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

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