Today is the birthdate of one of America’s most highly regarded writers. The poet, playwright Robert Lee Frost was born on this date in 1874 in San Francisco. He was one of the most critically acclaimed and popular poets of his day. Among the numerous awards, Frost was the recipient of four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry.
Robert Frost’s style was anything but uptight or stilted. His vision was that of the ordinary man. His descriptions and scenic writing came from the first hand knowledge of regular people. His verse reflects the patterns and rhythms of normal speech. To read a Frost poem is to find yourself speaking back. Robert Frost’s writing speaks for itself, so anything I write to praise or honor it seems unworthy of him. I decided to just bring you a couple of his works.
The first poem is one that many of us readers can deeply relate to as we reflect upon our lives.
The Road Not Taken
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.
Frost, himself, said this about his craft. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader. For me, the initial delight is in the surprise of remembering something I didn’t know I knew.”
When was the last time you took a stroll through a wooded area? As you read “The Sound Of The Trees”, let yourself remember the primal emotions that a breezy day amongst the trees at one time in your life, brought forth from your mind and heart.
The Sound Of The Trees
I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.
Modern society no longer stresses the value of poetry these days. In my view, everybody should have an anthology of poetry close at hand for easy reading. I hope the anthology you have includes many poems by Robert Frost.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Frost’s thoughts on free verse. “I’d just as soon play tennis with the net down”.