Halvard Johnson – Thirteen Variations on a Line by RHalvard Johnson
Thirteen Variations on a Line by Robert Frost
“Whose woods these are I think I know.”
1. I think I know whose timberland this is.
2. I know, I think, to whom these woods belong.
3. Betcha I know whose weald that is.
4. According to my mode of thinking, I have pertinent knowledge
regarding the identity of the personage yon forest attaches to.
5. My current speculations suggest that I am cognizant of
the proprietary state of that particular grove of tall woody plants.
6. That specific clump of potential planks, laths and boards
is the property of a human being I have the capability of knowing.
7. The ownership of that forest is known to me.
8. This bosque, the very Such-ness of which now presents itself to
me with such immediacy and terror that I stop dead in my tracks
to, with all humility, gape open-mouthed at their individual
Zusammenkeit, is held, in perpetuity or until hell
freezes over, by One whose ownership of them is totally and
forever beyond question.
9. The tract of trees in question is legally among the possessions
of one whose name is not unknown to me.
10. Ed Becker is the name of the guy who owns this woody acreage,
having inherited it from his father, Horace Becker, who bought
it off a man named Edwards, whose family lived on it for
seven generations prior, the house in which they lived falling
into disrepair and local disrepute, gradually succumbing
to winter and summer upheavals and falling slowly
back into the earth from which nearly three centuries before
it had, most laboriously, been raised up.
11. Know I think I are these woods whose.
12. That copse is chattel to a party whose ownership of said copse,
withal, is not to be lightly questioned, at least
by . . . yr humble servant.
13. Someone I know deludes himself with the idea that he owns
this stand, this matrix of mixed growth—elm, oak, fir,
maple, birch—and tangles of vine and bush, hospice
to squirrel and fox and deer among the larger
animals resident here, mouse and vole and termite, among
the smaller, leaving yet room for birds, bees, and insects
of all stripe, slugs and worms and ants—both red and black—
flies, mosquitoes, gnats, down to the smallest
of beings breeding in the sheen
of moisture lodged however
return to S H A M P O O 13
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