“OUT, OUT—” by Robert Frost (Favorite Poem Project)


My name’s Elizabeth Wojtusik. I’m 38 years old and I live here in
Humarock, Massachusetts right by the ocean and I
work as a teaching consultant in the Boston Public School system primarily
for an organization called “Arts in Progress”. My philosophy in
teaching pretty much is that children learn by
doing. Kids like think to play with. Their world becomes
very real when they can manipulate objects. A kid left to themselves will pick up something and play with it. And I know this because when I’m teaching I often see kids playing with pencils when
I’m doing the talking part. So if they can use real objects that
are examples of our actual real objects from
say China and use those in a meaningful context there they begin to have a a more concrete understanding of a
particular topic. (Sounds of children talking) “What are you selling?” When I teach rather than handing a child something to
read and then asking the kids questions about what they’ve
just read I have them get up on their feet and
through using props and a story, for instance, a folk tale that has to do with the particular culture in question they reenact a time period, a tale, a moment in time. “A little lower.” “OK so let me hear all that noise.” “You’re crying. You’re…” (Children making lots of noise) I think a lot of kids don’t get an opportunity to play to
use their imaginations. They’re so hungry for it. “Now what’s your reaction?” “We’ll all be punished.” (Children yell) (Clapping) The first time I ever read the poem “Out, Out—” I was stunned by it. It’s about a boy and (laughs) he’s a kid and even says in the poem “a boy doing a man’s work though a child at heart” and (laughs) The kids that I work with a lot of times
you would not believe the backgrounds that they come from. The households. Not all of them, but a lot of them are here and they’re doing their kids for the day in school and when
they go home they’re taking care of other younger siblings or there’s nobody home when they go home. They’re sitting in front of the TV
and in the poem the boy his tragedy could have been avoided just
by somebody saying “Oh call it a day, we’re done. Go be a kid. Go play. Here’s your time to play. This is the
time that you have for this.” And with the kids and I work with a lot
of times they don’t have the time for playing I fear. This poem is “Out, Out—” by Robert Frost. The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard / And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood, / Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it. / And from there those that lifted eyes could count / Five mountain ranges one behind the other / Under the sunset far into Vermont. / And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled, /
As it ran light, or had to bear a load. / And nothing happened: day was all but done. / Call it a day, I wish they might have said /
To please the boy by giving him the half hour / That a boy counts so much when saved from work. / His sister stood beside him in her apron /
To tell them ‘Supper.’ At the word, the saw, /
As if to prove saws knew what supper meant, / Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap— / He must have given the hand. However it was, / Neither refused the meeting. But the hand! / The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh, /
As he swung toward them holding up the hand /
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep / The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all— / Since he was old enough to know, big boy / Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart— / He saw all spoiled. ‘Don’t let him cut my hand off— /
The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, / sister!’ So. But the hand was gone already. / The doctor put him in the dark of ether. /
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath. / And then— the watcher at his pulse took fright. / No one believed. They listened at his heart. / Little—less—nothing!— and that ended it. /
No more to build on there. And they, since they /
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs. / The Favorite Poem Project is made possible by The National Endowment for the Arts fostering America’s creativity and investing in our living cultural
heritage. Additional funding has been provided by
the John S and James L Knight Foundation and by the
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

7 thoughts on ““OUT, OUT—” by Robert Frost (Favorite Poem Project)

  1. Thanks for this reading – it is quite obvious how you feel about the importance of children playing. it also reminded me of what a idyllic childhood i enjoyed, compared to so many…

  2. Came across this poem by accident, and how wonderfully you read it

  3. 1:10 Thumbs up if you've ever dropped something while taking it out of a car.
    4:00 You're supposed to say "Snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled" like a ghost story with the words being as onomatopoeic as they are. The whole poem is supposed to be scary and foreboding.

  4. I was sitting here fiddling with my pen exactly as she mentioned that her kids do that.. Good God

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