Monday, August 7, 2017
These early August work days feel like beginnings to me. Summer break memories still feel recent. Perhaps that’s why I turned to this Robert Francis poem a friend sent me early in July. Line by line hustles with jump-start language — wake me up, stomp on the porch, make me, show me, tell me, persuade me. Hints all through of a playful voice looking for my attention.
Have a blest work week, this first 7 day week in August.
Today’s Post – Robert Francis
Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I’m half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I’m not too hard persuaded.
Robert Francis August 12, 1901 – July 13, 1987
Robert Francis was born in Upland, Pennsylvania, and studied at Harvard. Although he taught at workshops and lectured at universities across the United States, he lived for over sixty years in the same house near Amherst, Massachusetts. His poems are often charmingly whimsical, presenting conundrums and mysteries with a light, lyrical touch, as in these lines from “The Black Hood”: “Thus do I praise duplicity and damn it. / I hate equivocation and I am it.” Robert Frost, an important influence on the poet, said that Francis was “of all the great neglected poets, the greatest.”