At Woodward’s Gardens Poem By Robert Frost,
A boy, presummg on his intellect,
Once showed two httle monkeys in a cage
A burning-glass they could not understand
And never could be made to undelstand
‘Vords are no good. to say It was a lens
For gathering solar rays would not have helped
But let him show them how the weapon worked.
He made the sun a pIn-point on the nose
Of first one, then the other till it brought
A look of puzzled dimness to theIr eyes
That blinking could not seem to blmk away.
They stood arms laced together at the bars,
And exchanged troubled glances over hfe.
One put a thoughtful hand up to his nose
As if reminded-or as if perhaps
WIthin a mIllion years of an idea.
He got his purple little knuckles stung.
The already known had once more been confirmed
By psychological experiment,
And that were all the findIng to announce
Had the boy not presumed too close and long.
There was a sudden Hash of arm, a snatch,
And th ~ glass was the monkeys’, not the boy’s.
Precipitately they retired back cage
And instituted an investigation
On their part, though without the needed inSight.
They bit the glass and listened for the flavor.
They broke the handle and the binding off it.
Then none the wiser, frankly gave it up,
And having bid it in their bedding straw
Against the day of prisoners’ ennui,
Came dryly forward to the bars again
To answer for themselves: Who said it ll1attered
What monkeys dId or didn’t understand?
They might not understand a burning-glass.
They mIght not understand the sun itself.
It’s knowing what to do WIth tbmgs that counts.