Come In

As I came to the edge of the woods,

Thrush music -- hark!

Now if it was dusk outside,

Inside it was dark.

Too dark in the woods for a bird

By sleight of wing

To better its perch for the night,

Though it still could sing.

The last of the light of the sun

That had died in the west

Still lived for one song more

In a thrush's breast.

Far in the pillared dark

Thrush music went --

Almost like a call to come in

To the dark and lament.

But no, I was out for stars:

I would not come in.

I meant not even if asked,

And I hadn't been.

                        Robert Frost

Almost like a call to come into the dark and lament. But no.  Frost always brings us to the threshold of the pathetic fallacy-- the reading of human feeling into the phenomena of nature-- and then acknowledges nature’s otherness.  Or more precisely, he likes to have it both ways.  These closing two stanzas are another wonderful instance of Frost “almosting it,” making believe. The thrush’s plaintive song does sound like a call to come into the woods and lament.  But it isn’t.  That severance of the seeming connection between the thrush’s song and the listener’s world of human intention and meaning is distilled into the echo of “lament” and “meant,” and in the end the listener, intent upon finding stars, knows that the thrush is not singing for him.  In “Come In.” Frost offers us the same yearning to step into the green world that we find in his “Acceptance,” in Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things,” or in Berry’s own “Thrush song...,” but here, as in “The Ovenbird’s” celebration of our “diminished” connection to nature, the acknowledgement that we stand apart from the thrush music makes the yearning all the more powerful.