I used to think that being among the crowd was a safe way to live.
Being uniform was my "template".
In fact, now I learn that being myselfthat might be being different from you allis the safest mode anytime anywhere.
And, I am sure that I won't be sorry for being uniquely ordinary as I am.
Of course "The Road Not taken" is still a uniform favorite os mine since most of Frost's readers take it as their liking.
To me Frost is a prodigy for taking his readers into his realm of extraordinary style to present ordinary ideas.
Let me share with you 3 of his poems that I believe are spellbinding.
The Road Not Taken
by: Robert Frost (18741963)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Robert Frost wrote some stunning and thought provoking poems.
Almost everyone has heard of "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" or "The Road Not Taken", but one of my all time favorites is "Desert Places".
The last verse:
"They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between starson stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.
I'm currently working my way through this book, which is the standard edition of his collected poetry.
Should be done some time in
Frost in 1941
I'm abandoning my reading of Frost's poetry.
Too many other books to get read.
Having gotten up through A Witness Tree I'm guessing that I've probably read most of his poems that are still remembered.
It was a great journey, I found out a lot about Frost and the surprising poetry that he wrote through most of his long life.
A very modern poet, even though in the end I get the impression that he is properly classified as a quite regional poet, one who in much of his work writes of people and attitudes that are found in American New Englandthat area northeast of New York and even more specifically north of Boston.
Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and the northern edge of Massachusetts.
Below are the nine collections of poetry the book contains, the year the collection was published, and links to separate reviews of the collections, for those I've read and reviewed.
These reviews will primarily be comprised of quotations of some of the poems I enjoyed most, with perhaps some additional comments.
(1) A Boy's Will, 1913review
(2) North of Boston, 1914review
(3) Mountain Interval, 1916review
(4) New Hampshire, 1924review
(5) WestRunning Brook, 1929review
(6) A Further Range, 1936review
(7) A Witness Tree, 1942review not yet written.
and the unread .
(8) Steeple Bush, 1947
(9) In the Clearing, 1962
Plus two plays Frost wrote:
(10) A Masque of Reason, 1945
(11) A Masque of Mercy, 1947
Finally (not in the book), I've reviewed the following:
Robert Frost: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by James M.
See the link for Previous library review below.
Previous review: Basil Street Blues
Next review: North of Boston
Older review: Understanding Power
Previous library review: Robert Frost critical reviews
Next library review: A Boy's Will see above I was intrigued to learn that Frost and Edward Thomas had met and spent time together in England before the first world war following on from a review of some of Frost's poetry by Thomas.
I feel both that in some way that the two of these people are now coming together in my understanding is a sign both of the deficiencies in my education and that luckily there is ever more to discover about the world.
I believe "The Road not taken" was inspired by some of the walks the two went on and that Frost encouraged Thomas to write and publish his own poetry too.
There is something unnerving about that connection for me, perhaps just the sense of how long Frost's adult life was since he was also performing at the inauguration (view spoiler)[ there's a lovely Roman word carrying the ideology of an alien world into modern times (hide spoiler)] Spent my morning with these trying to find RF's critical assessment of fame, how his neighbors come last to recognize him.
Turns out, it's not in the Complete, since he was elected Poet Laureate of Vermont (where he'd moved from N.
forty years before) in 1961, at age 85.
Year after he recited from memory at JFK's Inauguration.
Wryly, Frost responds "On Being Chosen Poet of Vermont," "Breathes there a bard who isn't moved/ When he finds his verse is understood…By his country and his neighborhood.
" And that IS the order, friends: The Country will recognize you before your neighbors do, especially yankees, mebbe.
I found this stunning, despite almost five decades of familiarity, many of them teaching certain poems like "Home Burial" and "A Servant to Servants," and of course property feeling in "Stopping by Woods", as well as the role of Edward Thomas and England in the universally misunderstood and admired "Road not Taken," with the most famous aposiopesis in English and American lit, "and I/ …I took….
My perusal this morning suggested I had neglected a dozen bird poems I should have noted in my "Birdtalk", like "Never again would Birds' Sounds be the Same," "Directive" about the Phoebes weeping to those not versed in country things, "Minor Bird" possibly about Titmouses or Phoebes, and others.
Then, for this Amtrak rider, Boston to Colorado six times, some poems start from trains, "A Passing Glimpse," "Figure in the Doorway," and "On the Heart's Beginning to Cloud the Mind.
"(One, a train in Utah.
) And several on wells, from the prolog "Pasture" to "For Once, then, Something.
" And even old shoes, "A Record Stride.
In my childhood good fortune, I lived on my grandparents Crockett Ridge, Maine, farm, with a boardcovered springfed well, complete with frog, in the pasture across the dirt road now named Ralph Richardson after my Gramp.
Because it was covered, never did have to clean it,
“I’m going out to clean the pasture spring.
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away,
And stay to watch the water clear, I may.
I won’t be gone long— You come, too.
I’m going out to fetch the little calf
Who’s standing by its mother.
It’s so young
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I won’t be gone long—You come, too.
I never fetched the calf separate from its mother, Polly, whom I lead with a stick, never to hit, but to slow her under her neck.
Polly calved every year, and my grandfather, a butcher from the town store once named for his family, would wait until we boys had left in August to veal the calf.
Above these subjects looms the writer's flexible, ironic, undercutting voice and tone, still uncommon in American poetry, so often elevated, sublime, the "I" growing as s/he speaks.
And may I say, as a lifelong "liberal," community college teacher, supporter of the American Dream and fulfillment thereof, I was amused at RF's parodic political satire mostly from the RRep or Right.
* His "Departmental" could be a satire on Hillary anthill: "Death's come to Jerry McCormick,/ Our selfless forager Jerry" (372); as could "A Roadside Stand" be a satire on my whole political and professional life, "Where they won't have to think for themselves anymore;/ While greedy gooddoers, beneficent beasts of prey,/ Swarm over their lives enforcing benefits/ That are calculated to soothe them out of their wits…"(370).
Frost famously conflicted with the Amherst College liberal President Meiklejohn, whose policies RF termed at the time, "Micklejaundice.
" But later in life, Frost conceded, "Meiklejohn was right.
Well…I find Frost's poetry filled with nuggets, turns of phrase, sometimes parodic turns, and especially quick changes in tonerare in any but cummings and Dickinson, who lived down the street from where Frost taught in 1919, and whose life overlapped his by eleven years.
Bill Pritchard's literary biography (based on his Ph.
24 years earlier) is unsurpassed as a poetic reading, and it contains a photo of Frost regaling my two great, witty Amherst College teachers, Baird (Shakespeare) and Craig (My Freshman Comp and an upperclass Seminar on Dickens and James).
As Chair of English, Craig taught my section of daily Freshman English.
One morning he asked my class, staring out the window, if any of us saw drumlins out there? Noone did.
Craig, "You can't see them if you don't know the word.
" (See RF, "Drumlin Woodcock.
Both Baird and Craig endorsed my senior honors thesis on Renaissance prosody and tone, directed by the learned and witty Richard Cody.
I rejoice in having had such teachers, but I do wonder at all that I have missed through decades of familiarity.
As Baird once wrote me of my grad subject, Andrew Marvell, his "To His Coy Mistress' is much better than familiarity suggests.
I would say, this goes for most of Frostthough may I add, his neighbor down the street, of another gender, surpasses him…and all but one or two poets.
But both ED and RF expand our New England dialect vocabulary, like "aftermath" for the second mowing.
*Now the Democrats live Frostian: they swept the 2018 elections in the House, because they embraced Frost, "I go to school to youth to learn the Future.
"What Fifty Said," from WestRunning Brook (1928)
The Democrats clearly support Frost's (Protestant?) work ethic, as in his first book, A Boy's Will, on the mower leaving Asclepias Tuberosa, wild "Butterfly Weed," the only flowers for the "(be)'wildered butterfly" trying to find the flowers that were there the day before.
Frost ends that one, "Men work together," I told him from my heart,
"Whether they work together or apart.
Now Frost's original Republican sympathies would support work, even workers, whom Corporate America glories in laying off or replacing with robots, whereas arguably the managers could most benefit by robotic, computerfeedback, replacement.
But I have not heard of a manager making the tough decision to replace him/herself.
By the way, I have dozens of Butterfly Weed plants in my backyard beyond the mowed part of the field, where it won't growtakes a month, peaks near July 4 here in SE Massachusetts.
For a picture,
see my Parodies Lost FB page.
Lovely poems! Frost isn't a "favorite" poet of mine, but he's definitely memorable and brilliant.
I think it's this version I have an old copy of this book.
My grandma gave it to me for Christmas many years ago.
I love Robert Frost.
He's my first favorite poet and my favorite poem will always be The Road Not Taken.
"And I, I took the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference.
" RF is my reason for loving words I think.
I had read some of his poems, like "Mending the wall" and "the snowstorm", but not all of them, until now.
I had not realised how great and famous Frost was in his lifetime.
Now I understand better.
I just love and admire his farmland poetry, it reminds me of so many things of my own young life in the countryside (in Austria though).
And then he enchants with his deep human knowledge, amorous, grumpy, hopeful or disappointed.
He sings of trees and flowers and birds and butterflys even ants and insects, he knows their songs and sounds, their smell and perfumes, down to the earth, mud and dust.
His variety of style keeps you reading wthout relent.
Funny, witty, clever, direct and indirect kreepy and ghostly etc.
I think that many of his poems could be developed into novels, if written out, there is so much material and potential.
This is one of the poetry books I will keep on my bedside table, like Emily Dickinson, Li Po, Kippling,
Yes, there are many "quotable quotes" that people bandy about; but again, he's not that kind of fellow.
I dip into this collection again and again, when I want the world to slow down a little, and I just want to dream away a few hours, an afternoon.
These are especially good on snowy, blustery, midwinter afternoons when there is nothing to do, and nowhere to go.
And in the evening, you stop by a wood, .
lovely, dark, and deep.
He's the kind of fellow with whom you could have had long, interesting conversations, whether or not the discourse took you anywhere on that particular day; but to never make the mistake, in that conversation, of confusing his simplicity of language with simplicity of thoughtfor he is more than "a considerable speck" in the universe and he has allowed me to take many roads, in my mind, not taken in the physical world.
This is a wellthumbed, wellloved collection.
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