I believe that I mentioned in a previous post that when you’re a kid an express an interest in poetry, people love to help exposing you to new poets. And I loved all of the recommendations. I don’t know how old I was when my father gave me a New England Anthology of Robert Frost’s Poems, but he gave it to me because he said that Robert Frost was one of his favorite poets. Today I took the book off my bookshelf and it really feels (and looks) like an older book, complete with a yellowing cover and pages; I must have received this in the early 90s and isn’t it wild to think of something from the early 90s as kinda old?
His poems feel very New England to me (and perhaps that’s because the anthology that I own is a “New England Anthology”, but I was surprised to find out that he was born in California. He did, eventually, wind up in New England and one can visit the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH – something that I still need to do! So, anyway, that poems below will have a very New England-y feel to them, which I absolutely adore as I adore being from, and living in, New England.
A Time to Talk
When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills that I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, “What is it?”
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall,
For a friendly visit.
In a Disused Graveyard
The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still;
But never any more the dead.
The verses in it say and say:
“The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay.”
So sure of death the marbles rhyme,
Yet can’t help marking all the time
How no one dead will seem to come.
What is it men are shrinking from?
It would be easy to be clever
And tell the stones: Men hate to die
And have stopped dying now forever.
I think they would believe the lie.
A Leaf Treader
I have been treading on leaves all day until I am autumn-tired.
God knows all the color and form of leaves I have trodden on and mired.
Perhaps I have put forth too much strength and been too fierce from fear.
I have safely trodden underfoot the leaves of another year.
All summer long they were over head, more lifted up than I.
To come to their final place in earth they had to pass me by.
All summer long I thought I heard them threatening under their breath.
And when they came it seemed with a will to carry me with them to death.
They spoke to the fugitive in my heart as if it were leaf to leaf.
They tapped at my eyelids and touched my lips with an invitation to grief.
But it was no reason I had to go because they had to go.
Now up my knee to keep on top of another year of snow.