Monday, October 22, 2007

Manic Monday

The word for today is FROST

Robert Frost (March 26, 1874January 29, 1963) was an American poet. His work frequently used themes from rural life in New England, using the setting to examine complex social and philosophical themes. A popular and often-quoted poet, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes.

For John F Kennedy's inauguration as President of the United States Robert Frost wrote a new poem entitled, "Dedication". Like many others he conceived the new president as young Lochinvar,

the perfect combination of spirit and flesh, passion and toughness, poetry and reality:

"... The glory of a next Augustan age
Of a power leading from its strength and pride,
Of young ambition eager to be tried,
Firm in our free beliefs without dismay,
In any game the nations want to play.
A golden age of poetry and power
Of which this noonday's the beginning hour."

But the poet was old (87) and he couldn't see the words because of the sun's glare that bright, cold January day. The poem's newness to him and his unfamiliarity with and uncertainty about the way it went caused him to stumble uncertainly with his voice and tone and he gave up. Instead he fell back on an old one he knew perfectly, and in the most splendidly commanding of voices, recited it impeccably:

~ The Gift Outright ~

The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia.
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak.
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

~ Robert Frost ~

Here's an another poem by our poet appropriate for the season:

Reluctance by Robert Frost.

Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one

And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last long aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?'

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

Frost's farm in Derry, New Hampshire



Jarod K. Anderson said...

He was a gifted man. Are there any living poets analogous to Frost in terms of general public awareness/appreciation? I wish there were, but I fear that poetry has lost some of it relevance in mainstream American media -not through any fault of poetry mind you; but, then, I suppose that's why popular and vulgar mean essentially the same thing. Uhg.

tegdirb92 said...

Frost is one of my favorite poets and my blog is named after one of his poems. Great choice for today. Have a great Monday.

the teach said...

Thanks jarod and tegdirb for your comments. I really appreciate it! :)

Happy MM!

Gattina said...

I just had read the last poeme on another blog. Fortunately there was a poete named Frost, lol !

the teach said...

Yes, Gattina, Ha!

crazy working mom said...

I agree that he is a favorite of mine! :)

Great information.

Jamie said...

I've always loved his poetry and the sometimes sardonic humor that would creep in to his work. It sometimes seems to me that the inability to finish reading the innauguration poem in some way presaged the unfinished tenure of the man.

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I so love Robert Frost. Very well done. Have a great MM. :)

the teach said...

Thanks Sandee...your post was SUPERior!

the teach said...

Jamie, Isn't that a marvelous story? Thanks for visiting and commenting. I always appreciate it!

Happy MM!

the teach said...

Hey crazy working mom, Thanks for commenting!!

Happy MM!

Mert said...

Wonderful post! There is a lot of R. Frost going around this MM! :)

Marilyn said...

These were very nice... I didn't know the story. I wonder why we spent so much time memorizing dates an so little time hearing stories...

Anyway, great post.

Jos said...

This is a very very good post! And this blog is a welcome find -- thanks to WW.

As for the living poets analogous to Frost in terms of public awareness and appreciation: I am not an American, so I can not judge his relevance in Mainstream American Media; but I would really hope you all would put one of the greatest poets, Bob Dylan, on that spot..

the teach said...

Thanks for the comment, Jos! Yes Dylan was a poet as well!

the teach said...

I agree, Marilyn, the stories are everything, the true history! Thanks for commenting.

OnlinePharmacy said...
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Blog Author Ann Clemmons said...

I love what I have heard and read about Robert Frost and President Kennedy, and I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Thank you~