Frost for Lawyers: 'The Best Thing that We're Put Here For's To See'
Sherman J. Clark
University of Michigan Law School
April 28, 2014
Michigan Law Review, Vol. 112, No. 6, 2014
U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 406
Why should lawyers read Frost? First of all, of course, it can bring great pleasure. As Robert Pinsky put it, poetry brings pleasures “both intellectual and bodily” and can provide “a satisfaction central to life.” And this is particularly true of Frost, whose poems are both accessible and enjoyable. This does not mean that there are no challenges in his poems. Frost does make us work. Indeed, as I hope to explore in this Essay, the work he asks us to do is essential to what we can learn from his poems. But this work is itself engaging and invigorating — like the exhilarating challenge of rock climbing. Or, for those inclined to more grounded pleasures, it is akin perhaps to the satisfaction one can get from the hard, rewarding work of splitting wood, which Frost, through his narrator in “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” describes this way: "You’d think I never had felt before The weight of an ax-head poised aloft, The grip on earth of outspread feet, The life of muscles rocking soft And smooth and moist in vernal heat." (p. 276) Both intellectual and bodily indeed.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: Robert Frost, lawyers, poetry
Date posted: April 29, 2014 ; Last revised: November 12, 2014