Thursday 25 October 2012


On the Today programme this morning, Iain Duncan Smith inadvertently used the lovely word 'otherwhere' in the course of answering a question. He instantly corrected himself, which was a shame.
'Otherwhere' is a word I've liked ever since first coming across it, as a schoolboy, in Robert Frost's beautiful poem Hyla Brook -

By June our brook's run out of song and speed.
Sought for much after that, it will be found
Either to have gone groping underground
(And taken with it all the Hyla breed
That shouted in the mist a month ago,
Like ghost of sleigh-bells in a ghost of snow)--
Or flourished and come up in jewel-weed,
Weak foliage that is blown upon and bent
Even against the way its waters went.
Its bed is left a faded paper sheet
Of dead leaves stuck together by the heat--
A brook to none but who remember long.
This as it will be seen is other far
Than with brooks taken otherwhere in song.
We love the things we love for what they are.


  1. Hello Nige -- Should I be surprised that you, an English schoolboy, read Robert Frost? I am somehow. The money question is whether you read Emily Dickinson too?
    "Hyla Brook" is wonderfully evocative of New England. My mother in NE called the frogs that he calls hylas "peepers", but she also said they "shouted" -- perhaps she got it from Frost.
    The brook on our family property, in southwestern New Hampshire, never runs dry. Walking through our woods to The Brook, about 3/4 mile, is an iconic family activity.
    What would a brook, somewhat larger than Frost's streamlet, be called if, say, Edward Thomas were to write about one (I don't recall that he ever did)?
    Susan from NYC

  2. lovely poem Nige, thanks for the introduction