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One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Robert Frost’s “Birches”

A Visual Interpretation

Julian Peters

7 Comments
7 Comments
7 Comments
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  • Vicki Shuck

    Thank you for your beautiful interpretation of this poem, Julian, and thank you, Plough, for sharing it with us! It is such an affirmation of how the arts touch soul.

  • Forrest

    I do not remember this poem but I vividly remember lines from two of Frost's other poems: "The woods are lovely dark and deep but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep" AND "Two roads forked in the wood, and I, took the one less traveled by" Do you know that I did NOT learn of Robert Frost in school or college but by means of the Inauguration of JFK as President (1961, when I was 21 years old) in which Frost was there reading his poetry!

  • Dan Grubbs

    I’m of the opinion that Robert Frost’s verse is such that it dismays a deconstructionist’s approach to criticism. For Frost’s diction is so common that it would be hard pressed to find someone even in today’s English-speaking world who could not define the terms. That may be just a bit hyperbolic, but I think the point is made – basic terms deployed eloquently. However, one of the things that make Frost’s work find an audience still generations after he wrote them is his voice and style. Simple language assembled in artful ways. He had a gift and I believe it started with his way of intimately observing God’s creation through the lens of language.

  • Rick Barnes, Executive Director, New York State Catholic Conference

    I have always found Plough Quarterly to be the highest quality publication in its sector, but you have pushed it to an even higher level. The Spring 2018 issue is a wonderful example of the creative thought you are putting into your publication. The multi-voiced exploration of the inspirational life and work of “America’s Prophet” was all any reader could have hoped for, but then you put icing on the cake: Julian Peters’ visual interpretation of Frost’s “Birches” provided a beautiful, whimsical, dream-like contrast to the deeper inspirational “I have a dream” MLK theme. Truly outstanding!

  • Margaret Kerry

    One of my favorite poems. These illustration are just as I imagine it come to life.

  • Erin Kahn

    This is so beautiful and moving! Agree with the previous comment.

  • Frank DiNatale

    I love everything you do, Julian Peters!

So was I once myself a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be.
 It's when I'm weary of considerations, And life is too much like a pathless wood
 Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs Broken across it, and one eye is weeping From a twig's having lashed across it open.
 I'd like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over.
 May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love: I don't know where it's likely to go better.
 I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Read the whole poem.

Contributed By Julian Peters self portrait Julian Peters

Julian Peters is an illustrator and comic book artist living in Montreal, Canada, who focuses on adapting classical poems into graphic art. His work has been exhibited internationally and published in several poetry and graphic art collections.

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7 Comments