I stay;
But it isn’t as if
There wasn’t always Hudson’s Bay
And the fur trade,
A small skiff
And a paddle blade.

I can just see my tent pegged,
And me on the floor,
Cross-legged,
And a trapper looking in at the door
With furs to sell.

His name’s Joe,
Alias John,
And between what he doesn’t know
And won’t tell
About where Henry Hudson’s gone,
I can’t say he’s much help;
But we get on.

The seal yelp
On an ice cake.
It’s not men by some mistake?
No,
There’s not a soul
For a windbreak
Between me and the North Pole-

Except always John-Joe,
My French Indian Esquimaux,
And he’s off setting traps
In one himself perhaps.

Give a headshake
Over so much bay
Thrown away
In snow and mist
That doesn’t exist,

I was going to say,
For God, man, or beast’s sake,
Yet does perhaps for all three.

Don’t ask Joe
What it is to him.
It’s sometimes dim
What it is to me,
Unless it be
It’s the old captain’s dark fate
Who failed to find or force a strait
In its two-thousand-mile coast;
And his crew left him where be failed,
And nothing came of all be sailed.

It’s to say, “You and I-”
To such a ghost-
You and I
Off here
With the dead race of the Great Auk!”
And, “Better defeat almost,
If seen clear,
Than life’s victories of doubt
That need endless talk-talk
To make them out.”

3 Comments

  1. Dr. Zik says:

    Robert Frost is known for his realistic depictions of rural life and musical lines full of the musical effect that soothes the reader and listener of his poetry.
    He used Ziket’s taste in several poems. As it was the time when Ziket was not specified or invented, to show the specific name and rules for its structure. It came to the poets’ minds and hearts through the wonderful musical waves that they felt during the revelation of poetry and they found its fantastic flow for their poetic lines and then adopted.
    Frost used whatever meter in a poem. After all, this style attracted the flow of poetry like a magnet to itself.
    My research has shown that if Frost were alive today, he would be a Ziket writer. In other words, Robert Frost used this style in many poems and its ratio varies from poem to poem. Frost started a poem in It is as if a traveler, seeing the beautiful scenery of nature, suddenly stops at a place where a new color of serenity and fun begins to amuse his heart. Traditional poets felt a new color and spirit from this place.
    In the poem “An Empty Threat”, when we see it, the 34 lines out of 57 have the Ziket’s color. In this way, Robert Frost irrigated 57 % of his poetic field, regarding this poem, with this canal water. (commented by Dr. Zik inventor of Zik Genres “Ziket & Zinet”)

    Examples are given below:

    Line # 1 and 2.

    I stay;
    But it isn’t as if

    First line: 2 syllables and 2nd Line: 5 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 3 and 4.

    There wasn’t always Hudson’s Bay
    And the fur trade

    First line: 7 syllables and 2nd Line: 4 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 7 and 8.

    I can just see my tent pegged,
    And me on the floor

    First line: 7 syllables and 2nd Line: 5 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 10 and 11.

    And a trapper looking in at the door
    With furs to sell

    First line: 10 syllables and 2nd Line: 4 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 12 and 13.

    His name’s Joe,
    Alias John

    First line: 3 syllables and 2nd Line: 4 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 14 and 15.

    And between what he doesn’t know
    And won’t tell

    First line:7 syllables and 2nd Line: 3 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 17 and 18.

    I can’t say he’s much help;
    But we get on

    First line: 6 syllables and 2nd Line: 4 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 19 and 20.

    The seal yelp
    On an ice cake.

    First line: 3 syllables and 2nd Line: 4 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 21 and 22.

    It’s not men by some mistake?
    No.

    First line: 7 syllables and 2nd Line: 1 syllable
    —————————————————————-

    Line # 23 and 24.

    There’s not a soul
    For a windbreak.

    First line: 4 syllables and 2nd Line: 4 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 30 and 31.

    Give a headshake
    Over so much bay.

    First line: syllables and 2nd Line: syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 38 and 39.

    Don’t ask Joe
    What it is to him.

    First line: 3 syllables and 2nd Line: 5 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 40 and 41.

    It’s sometimes dim
    What it is to me.

    First line: 4 syllables and 2nd Line: 5 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 48 and 49.

    It’s to say, ‘You and I—’
    To such a ghost

    First line: 6 syllables and 2nd Line: 4 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 50 and 51.

    You and I
    Off here.

    First line: 3 syllables and 2nd Line: 2 syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 53 and 54.

    And, ‘Better defeat almost,
    If seen clear.

    First line: syllables and 2nd Line: syllables

    —————————————————————-

    Line # 56 and 57.

    That need endless talk-talk
    To make them out

    First line: syllables and 2nd Line: syllables

    —————————————————————-

  2. robert n gutsell says:

    This is the first time I’ve read “An empty threat” but I am a Robert Frost enthusiast and I can spot some if his trademark patterns.

    He developped a style in which people living close to their land (farmers, woodworkers etc) would converse in a down to earth, but surprisingly insightful way. These conversational and reflective pieces were often long; so this is a shorter piece.

    The main character recalls his conversation with another in Hudson Bay. It starts in the outside “political” world, and seems clear, then suddnely you find yourself wondering about the increasing depth of the lines. It clearly is not political; its personal and reflective and about transience and impermanence. (In my opinion!)It also suddenly gets communicative with the reader; “you” comes into the poem, and RF is suddenly talking to you.

  3. rob says:

    it was good but then bad

    not

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