Original Text: 
Robert Frost, Mountain Interval (New York: Henry Holt, 1921), p. 36. PS 3511 R94 M6 ROBA.
2And cut a flower beside a ground bird's nest
3Before it stained a single human breast.
4The stricken flower bent double and so hung.
5And still the bird revisited her young.
7A moment sought in air his flower of rest,
8Then lightly stooped to it and fluttering clung.
9On the bare upland pasture there had spread
11And straining cables wet with silver dew.
12A sudden passing bullet shook it dry.
13The indwelling spider ran to greet the fly,
14But finding nothing, sullenly withdrew.


1] Frost saved this poem only because Edward Thomas, his friend the English poet and the one to whom Frost referred in the title of his "To E.T.," "thought it so good a description of No Man's Land" (Selected Letters of Robert Frost, ed. Lawrance Thompson [New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1964], p. 220).
Frost plays on several meanings in his title: determining the distance a bullet will travel; and discovering the variation of something from the smallest to the largest. Back to Line
6] "A butterfly [that] its [the flower's] fall had dispossessed ..." Back to Line
10] mullein: tall plant of the figwort family with spiky yellow flowers. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.