Sunday, August 17, 2008

On Going Unnoticed

Besides loving the delicate Trillium for its simple, elegant beauty and its impeccable vernal timing, I love Trilliums because they “linger their little hour and then are gone, while the woods still sweep leafily on.” This quote, of course, is from of a line from Robert Frost’s poem, “On Going Unnoticed.”

On Going Unnoticed
by Robert Frost

As vain to raise a voice as a sigh
In the tumult of free leaves on high.
What are you in the shadow of trees
Engaged up there with the light and breeze?

Less than the coral-root you know
That is content with the daylight low,
And has no leaves at all of its own;
Whose spotted flowers hang meanly down.

You grasp the bark by a rugged pleat,
And look up small from the forest’s feet.
The only leaf it drops goes wide,
Your name not written on either side.

You linger your little hour and are gone,
And still the woods sweep leafily on,
Not even missing the coral-root flower
You took as a trophy of the hour.
When I was younger, I viewed Frost’s poem as a metaphor for my life. You see, I constantly found myself in the company of self-proclaimed intellectuals ("trees"), who always had something profound or pithy, or just opinionated, to say on just about any topic ("engaged up there with the light and breeze"), while I, on the other hand, was natively a little too reticent (having "no leaves" and only "mean spotted flowers") for my own good. As a consequence, it often appeared to me that it was “as vain to raise a voice as a sigh,” and therefore, I usually went “unnoticed” in the “shadow of trees.” In some ways I was “content with the daylight low” – being overshadowed and overlooked by others. However, at other times, I wanted to “grasp the bark” to get someone’s attention. But when I did, usually “the only leaf” that dropped (the only response) "went wide" (they completely missed my point). My name "not written on either side" of the dropped leaf was a not so subtle reminder that I was not only nameless, but nearly non-existent ("less than the coral-root") in their world.



Chris said...

Sometimes going unnoticed is a good thing. When I worked at the glorious cable company, whenever someone received recognition on a company wide scale, they eventually got fired. Maybe it is because once you make a blip on the radar, the missles start flying. So, maybe it is best to be a "behind-the-scenes" kind of guy. Although, at times it is good to be in the lime light. I recently received a recognition award at my current occupation which landed me $200 and a deadly desk oranament. So, if I don't get fired, I might get KILLED instead. So, the phrase "you win some and you lose some", in this case would be, "you live some, and then you die".

Trillium said...

LOL. Congrats (I hope) on the recognition!

Zaphod said...

I like Trilliums, particularly the one that grows near the little pile of rocks that is me