Robert Frost's 'Design'

Episode of: The Essay

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Sep 29, 201713m
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Robert Frost's 'Design'
Sep 29 '1713m
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Don Paterson is an award-winning poet, editor and teacher, but for all his technical ability and the recognition that has been paid to his work Paterson is acutely aware of awe and sometimes envy when he looks at the work of other writers. Here he applies his wit and skills of technical analysis to discussing five poems he wishes he had written. Tonight, Robert Frost's poem 'Design'. Design I found a dimpled spider, fat and white, On a white heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth-- Assorted characters of death and blight Mixed ready to begin the morning right, Like the ingredients of a witches' broth-- A snow-drop spider, a flower like froth, And dead wings carried like a paper kite. What had that flower to do with being white, The wayside blue and innocent heal-all? What brought the kindred spider to that height, Then steered the white moth thither in the night? What but design of darkness to appall?-- If design govern in a thing so small.

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