Saturday, January 30, 2010

Robert Frost, The Poet Who Gave My Heart Wings

The first book of poems I ever owned is a fat copy of  "The Poetry of Robert Frost".  I fell in love with him when I was about 13 years old and began memorizing his poems.   The poems below are a few of his that I know by heart and are still my favorites.  Something about these long, cold, dreary, gray Winter days always brings him to mind.

My 13 year old grandson was over last night and was complaining because his Reading teacher was making them study etymology and memorize lots of word origins.  He said it was too hard and he didn't understand it.  (This from the boy who at 7 years old could name, spell and SAY hundreds of Pokemon characters!) We had a long talk and I gave him some suggestions, like writing each word origin he had to learn ten times.  That's what I had to do in elementary school for Spelling homework, I told him.  He was horrifed.  TEN TIMES, he said, incredulous?? 

I know he watches too much TV, spends too much time texting and on his cell phone, and on the computer watching YouTube videos.  He's still young enough that he confides in me and tells me everything, so I know this stuff.... But I'm not his mother, just his Grammy, so I tried not to lay into him too much.  But when his Mom and Dad came to pick him up, I did lay into my daughter, the TEACHER.  I won't go into the gory details.  I told him I'd come to his house and tutor him if he wanted me to.  (He didn't.) 

And to think when I was 13 I was camped out at the library (which I'd walked a few miles to get to or ridden my ratty, used bicycle---I still have scars on my knee from a bicycle wreck in front of the library) scribbling down poetry from the reference books into a notebook I still have......  Ah, the good old days before we had cell phones, the Internet, computers and the world at our fingertips.  God knows how we did it having only our imaginations to lead us...

I'm not so sure things are better now, just faster...way too fast, for sure.




by Robert Frost

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.


By Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.


By Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

By Robert Frost

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.

By Robert Frost

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.


By Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain --and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.


By Robert Frost

A tree's leaves may be ever so good,
So may its bark, so may its wood;
But unless you put the right thing to its root
It never will show much flower or fruit.

But I may be one who does not care
Ever to have tree bloom or bear.
Leaves for smooth and bark for rough,
Leaves and bark may be tree enough.

Some giant trees have bloom so small
They might as well have none at all.
Late in life I have come on fern.
Now lichens are due to have their turn.

I bade men tell me which in brief,
Which is fairer, flower or leaf.
They did not have the wit to say,
Leaves by night and flowers by day.

Leaves and bark, leaves and bark,
To lean against and hear in the dark.
Petals I may have once pursued,
Leaves are all my darker mood.



Karen said...

I bow in homage to Robert Frost, my best and first poet.

She Writes said...

Love Robert Frost and I know his name, Frost, si not what makes you think of him in winter. It is his work. I often think of his suff in winter, as well. Yeah, too many games and television now for kids. Not safe to run all lover the blocks for hours either. Too bad, huh?

Marion said...

Karen, I should have known he was your first, too. ;-) Blessings!

Amy, funny but I never associated Frost/winter until you said that. Ha! Yeah, it's too bad how dangerous the world is now. Thanks for stopping in. Blessings!

Kelly said...

I do love Robert Frost and all these are wonderful! Here's one of my favorites:

The Pasture

I'm going out to clean the pasture spring:
I'll only stop to rake the leave away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha'n't be gone long. - You come too.

I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha'n't be gone long. - You come too.

Marion said...

Kelly, I'd forgotten about that one. It's one of my favorites, too. Thanks for sharing it. Love & Blessings!

Woman in a Window said...

Marion, you are saving me to poetry. I pause here and soak it up. Yes, yes, always the road less traveled. If only to see around those bends...

Your grandson could text you ten times the information he needs to remember although it kills me even to suggest it. But who are we, we of blogs and click click keys to tell them? Ugh.


Karen said...

Marion, a favorite memory: my sister and me in the kitchen, putting Robert Frost poems to music, then singing them while we do the dishes...

Marion said...

Erin, I know I spend too much time web surfing some days, but I don't have homework to do. LOL! Yes, I had to dust off these old poems and bring them out. It's like greeting old friends I've had for 40 years. Blessings!

Karen, what a fun memory. Nobody in my family liked poetry. They still don't, but I did write a play once when I was 14 and made all the cousins and sisters put it on. It was a blast. Maybe I should've been a screenwriter. Blessings!

Rick said...

I always feel like a thief around Mr. Frost. I think my writing is more influenced by his than any other. I'm not sure if I could write anything had I not known his way. And the road not taken? I've built my life around it. Good luck with your grandson. He's in the best hands with you. ~rick

Phoenix said...

I think everybody should know and love Frost, but New Englanders especially (I'm originally from NH). I love all of these poems.

And I have fond memories of copying poems from ee cummings and Frost on the copier in college bc I was too poor to buy their books. :)

Marion said...

Phoenix, yes, I think they should sky write Mr. Frost's poems in the sky in every city on earth. LOL! Blessings!