In a comical ballad called “The Star-Splitter,” Robert Frost described a man outdoors splitting firewood after the first frost of autumn:
“You know Orion always comes up sideways.
Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains,
And rising on his hands, he looks in on me
Busy outdoors by lantern-light with something
I should have done by daylight, and indeed,
After the ground is frozen, I should have done
Before it froze….”
As with Hesiod and Aratos, Frost’s poetic tale reminds us that Orion’s rising on the eastern horizon at sunset is a marker of autumn.
Frost, an avid amateur astronomer, believed that every town should have its own telescope. The humorous tale recounted in this poem illustrates how the presence of a telescope, like a compelling work of art, will change people, and entire communities, for the better.