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50th Anniversary of Robt. Frost's Death 
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Post 50th Anniversary of Robt. Frost's Death
NPR announced this today, noting that Robert Frost, even when he began publishing in the early 1900s was old-fashioned--rhyming in an age of free-verse; choosing country subjects while ignoring rapid changes in living patterns and technology; not going along with the confessional movement in poetry, but keeping his problems to himself. Having read biographies of him, I know that he did have hard struggles, especially with his family. One poem I always think of as expressing his own feelings is "Tree at My Window," which gets me right there. Anyone else have a favorite Frost poem to share?

Tree at my Window

Tree at my window, window tree,
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me.

Vague dream head lifted out of the ground,
And thing next most diffuse to cloud,
Not all your light tongues talking aloud
Could be profound.

But tree, I have seen you taken and tossed,
And if you have seen me when I slept,
You have seen me when I was taken and swept
And all but lost.

That day she put our heads together,
Fate had her imagination about her,
Your head so much concerned with outer,
Mine with inner, weather.



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Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:43 am
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Post Re: 50th Anniversary of Robt. Frost's Death
Fire and Ice

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.


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Question everything


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Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:34 am
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Post Re: 50th Anniversary of Robt. Frost's Death
That's another one that seems to report his feelings, but I've always read it as more of an observation that any human would be able to make. Now thinking about it again, maybe the poem is more personal than I thought. Frost did talk about hating, mainly other poets, due to strong professional jealousy. He even defended hate as a useful emotion, as I recall. But my guess is that Frost was just a little more honest about himself than most people are. He admitted to being a glory-seeker, for example.



Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:05 pm
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Post Re: 50th Anniversary of Robt. Frost's Death
DWill wrote:
...."Tree at My Window," which gets me right there. Anyone else have a favorite Frost poem to share?


"Tree at My Window" is one of my favorite Frost poems. The lines that I feel an attachment to are:

Tree at my window, window tree,
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me.

Somehow when these lines go into my head it produces the feeling I remember having lying in bed on sleepovers with my best friend (who was also a cousin and my next door neighbor) when I was a tiny girl. Lying in the dark, side by side, talking about everything we cared about in the world until her mother hushed us.


Here is another favorite of mine -

The Pasture

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


My answer to Mr. Frost is a resounding "yes!"



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Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:45 pm
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Post Re: 50th Anniversary of Robt. Frost's Death
I think a celebration of Robert Frost's life has to include this poem.

That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
Indeed. One could.

Birches

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Robert Frost



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Post Re: 50th Anniversary of Robt. Frost's Death
_Birches_ is my favorite Frost Poem. There is so much to see, so much to ponder. Yes, Frost wrote in regular meters and rhyme but his work requires as much ruminating to understand as any modern poet.


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"Freedom is feeling easy in your harness" --Robert Frost


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