I urge the Globe to try a novel experiment this election year. It would be designed to push the candidates outside their political comfort zones in order to reveal something of how their minds work.
My proposal is to send both major party candidates a short selection of poetry and ask them to react to it in their own words. Part Rorschach test, this experiment could help voters get a feel for the candidates’ ability to see beneath the superficial and to connect to someone else’s human experience.
This would not be a test of literary knowledge. I don’t care if the candidates recognize the poem or the poet; anyone can Google that information. My concern would be how they react to the human heartbeat of the selection outside the usual spin of the political arena. Surely, this would be more revealing than their poll-driven speeches.
I suggest using the last 18 lines of Robert Frost’s classic poem “Birches” for the test.
I, for one, would like to know how each responds when Frost asserts that “Earth’s the right place for love” and that “One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.”