Monday, March 26, 2012

Poem for a Monday: Happy Birthday, Robert Frost

When I was a 20-something student attending college in Vermont, Robert Frost wasn't just another poet on the syllabus. The "road not taken" guy. JFK's inaugural poet.

No, he was a demigod. We made pilgrimmages to his cabin in the woods, lounging about on the grass and taking turns reading aloud to each other. Birches. Mending Wall. Maple. Those were the poems I remember loving and rereading when I was young. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening was also a great favorite, especially when sung to the tune of "Hernando's Hideaway."

Thirty years later, I choose different Frost poems. The Draft Horse really spoke to me not long ago, but I've moved past that now, thank goodness. I still love Directive. And I'll confess that when I was 20 I didn't appreciate The Oven Bird; now it's a favorite.

So today, in honor of Robert Frost's birthday (March 26, 1874) I'm reading Hyla Brook. And wondering at the miracle that it was my daughter who reminded me that today is the poet's birthday. She'll be heading to that same mountain in Vermont come fall, to discover her own favorite poems.

Hyla Brook

By June our brook's run out of song and speed.
Sought for much after that, it will be found
Either to have gone groping underground
(And taken with it all the Hyla breed
That shouted in the mist a month ago,
Like ghost of sleigh bells in a ghost of snow) -
Or flourished and come up in jewelweed,
Weak foliage that is blown upon and bent,
Even against the way its waters went.
Its bed is left a faded paper sheet
Of dead leaves stuck together by the heat -
A brook to none but who remember long.
This as it will be seen is other far
Than with brooks taken otherwhere in song.
We love the things we love for what they are.

Robert Frost 1874-1963

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