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A Brook in the city
Posted by: Melody (209.83.17.---)
Date: February 23, 2003 03:58PM

Can you please tell me what this poem is talking about? "A brook in the city" by Robert Lee Frost.
Thanks!


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.sdsl.cais.net)
Date: February 24, 2003 01:46PM


Sounds like a city was built where once was farmland. The grass was cemented over, the trees burned for firewood. What happened to the brook that was there, though?


The farmhouse lingers, though averse to square
With the new city street it has to wear
A number in. But what about the brook
That held the house as in an elbow-crook?
I ask as one who knew the brook, its strength
And impulse, having dipped a finger length
And made it leap my knuckle, having tossed
A flower to try its currents where they crossed.
The meadow grass could be cemented down
From growing under pavements of a town;
The apple trees be sent to hearth-stone flame.
Is water wood to serve a brook the same?
How else dispose of an immortal force
No longer needed? Staunch it at its source
With cinder loads dumped down? The brook was thrown
Deep in a sewer dungeon under stone
In fetid darkness still to live and run --
And all for nothing it had ever done
Except forget to go in fear perhaps.
No one would know except for ancient maps
That such a brook ran water. But I wonder
If from its being kept forever under,
The thoughts may not have risen that so keep
This new-built city from both work and sleep.


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: February 24, 2003 04:51PM

Makes me wonder if the brook is going to destroy the city.

pam


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.sdsl.cais.net)
Date: February 24, 2003 07:13PM


Yup. Water can do that, too. Revenge served icily cold.


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: February 27, 2003 05:57PM


But I wonder
If from its being kept forever under,
The thoughts may not have risen that so keep
This new-built city from both work and sleep.


My first thought was, there's an analogy between the BROOK that's been built-over, and the old graveyards or ancient burial grounds that get build-over when cities spread.

In the time it took to type that, though, I thought that maybe it's not a superstitious sleeplessness. Rather, it's just the fact that the new town's grid (the "square" it forms) is at odds with the natural shape of the land... the refusal to GO WITH THE FLOW (literally) ... that's being evoked to illustrate how much we battle with out own natures when we try to be civilized.


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Cami (---.glst3401.nj.comcast.net)
Date: April 25, 2004 03:02PM

Robert Frost’s A Brook in the City is a poem which complains about build cities and sympathizes with the brook, or burring memories. The harsh and strong words add to the anger against the city. He praises the brooks strength and power, and questions if the brook still runs under the city, the dreams are still hidden within the person.
There is no stanza or breaking in the poem, but it does contain a shift
“But I wonder,
If from its being kept forever under,
The thoughts may not had risen that so keep
This new-built city from both work to sleep” (line 21-24.)
The whole poem has a rhyme scheme of aabbcc… this poem is an ode to a brook with a hidden meaning. In Iambic Pentameter, the poem consists of masculine rhyme. There is strong assonance in that it repeats the letter o which gives the sound of strength. Frost uses Personification of the brook “forget to go in fear.”
When first read this poem it may seem to be for this brook, but when carefully analyzed it is determined that is also about thoughts or dreams that have been buried within and how those thoughts and dreams are still there no matter how hard you try to hide it. The Thoughts are “an immortal force” and have “strength and impulse.” So in many ways this is an Ode to the buried thoughts.


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 26, 2004 02:02PM

Since this thread started (over a year ago), I learned that the building my cousin lives in -- a huge apartment building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan -- has a stream running below it. When the building went up, it included a pump that keeps the stream from flooding the basement. During the big blackout, the custodian kept a team of workers busy running the pump by hand until he could set up a generator to power it, and then looking after the generator. (I'm happy to say, he and his team were publically honored by the tenants for this heroic achievement.)


=======

Another thought, reading it now (that didn't occur to me the first time):

        But what about the brook
That held the house as in an elbow-crook?
. . . .
Is water wood to serve a brook the same?
How else dispose of an immortal force
No longer needed?

There's something about the CONSERVATION OF ENERGY in those lines. The "immortal force" of moving water can be re-directed (e.g., dams and irrigation) but it can't be destroyed. So he's asking, can you convert a stream into firewood?

At least I THINK he's asking that. The wording is very strange: "Is water wood to serve a brook the same?" Very puzzling to me.


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 03:12PM

There's a brook that runs under the Empire State Building......it still manages to flow....though not above ground.......moisture problems in the basement.

(true story)


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-04rh16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 28, 2004 09:27AM

The meadow grass could be cemented down
From growing under pavements of a town;
The apple trees be sent to hearth-stone flame.

"Is water wood to serve (to) a brook the same?"


If water is the wood (of the apple trees), then the brook must be a fire being fed, so that, 'can water be fed to the brook of fire?'

The answer being, no, it cannot.


How else dispose of an immortal force
No longer needed? Staunch it at its source ...


But, if you cannot divert its course, what else can be done? Stop it way back where it begins (in the mountains, or at least before it gets to the city). Shove it underground, like an aquifer.

This interpretation is, as always, provided 'as is', with no express or implied warranty attached.


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 28, 2004 11:19AM


Thanks, Hugh.

"The answer being NO." That's the bit I was missing.

So now it's clear to me that "to dispose of an immortal force" is inherently impossible and the question of "how else" to do so is ironic.


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 28, 2004 12:25PM

Brooke Shields are a defensive weapon


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 28, 2004 01:16PM

But the brook was there first
It did not hold the house
the house nestled there
a comfortable natural place
it coexisted and did not impose


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 28, 2004 01:20PM

The Brook is too much with us !


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: lg (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: April 28, 2004 01:37PM


Wasn't Frost born and raised in California? What city here would he have been thinking about? There are no underground brooks in San Francisco, a few tremors maybe. He must have been thinking about New England, but I can't think of any large cities in New Hamphire that would be his reference for the poem.

Les


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 28, 2004 01:43PM

[www.robertfrost.org] />
THIS SAY HE MOVED EAST AT AGE 11 SO THERE YA GO !


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 28, 2004 01:59PM

My sister wrote a paper about the time Frost spent in LONDON, too.


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 28, 2004 02:23PM

City of the small shoulders?

oh wait, thats Sandy Sandburg !


Re: A Brook in the city
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: April 28, 2004 05:06PM

Maybe it's the Los Angeles river?

pam




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