Over there on the dining room table
are just twenty-five of the thousands of essays
on the poetry of Robert Frost
produced this week alone in the USA,
the world leader in essays on Robert Frost.
The essays are about ambiguity
in The Road Not Taken, and also ambiguity
in Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.
Every year the English majors of America
must read these poems and analyze their ambiguity
or compare and contrast their ambiguity
in five double-spaced pages.
And the English teachers of America must read these pages
and determine whether they are incisive or not incisive.
I am one of those teachers. I try to do my share.
Because if we don’t do this—if Frost’s ambiguity
is not discussed, and if these discussions are not assessed,
and then finally graded—well, what’s the point of all this?
What are we doing here?
I must walk over to the dining room table
and determine whether the essays are incisive or not incisive.
And yet two days have passed, an entire weekend,
and it’s Sunday evening and I am having a glass of wine
and the essays on ambiguity in the poetry of Robert Frost
remain unassessed by me, and this is getting very serious.
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