Frost’s “To a Thinker” (1936)

The last step taken found your heft
Decidedly upon the left.
One more would throw you on the right
Another still—you see your plight.
You call this thinking, but it’s walking.
Not even that, it’s only rocking,
Or weaving like a stabled horse:
From force to matter and back to force,
From form to content and back to form,
From norm to crazy and back to norm,
From bound to free and back to bound,
From sound to sense and back to sound.
So back and forth. It almost scares
A man the way things come in pairs.
Just now you’re off democracy
(With a polite regret to be)
And leaning on dictatorship;
But if you will accept the tip,
In less than no time, tongue and pen,
You’ll be a democrat again.
A reasoner and good as such,
Don’t let it bother you too much
If it makes you look helpless, please,
And a temptation to the tease.
Suppose you’ve no direction in you,
I don’t see but you must continue
To use the gift you do possess,
And sway with reason more or less.
I own I never really warmed
To the reformer or reformed.
And yet conversion has its place
Not halfway down the scale of grace.
So if you find you must repent
From side to side in argument,
At least don’t use your mind too hard,
But trust my instinct—I’m a bard.