Monday, March 26, 2012

A Poem for Monday


"A Prayer in Spring"  by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.



From today's Writer's Almanac:


It's the birthday of Robert Frost (1874) (books by this author). Born in San Francisco, he moved to Massachusetts when he was 11. He struggled a long time to become a successful poet. His style was out of fashion almost from the beginning — he was interested in the traditional forms of rhyme and meter, while his contemporaries such as Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and T. S. Eliot were writing in modern free verse.

His early years were often rough. His father was a heavy drinker and died of tuberculosis when Frost was twelve years old, leaving the family impoverished. He had to drop out of college during his first year to work, and tried unsuccessfully to publish poetry. Frost was seriously depressed; at one point he followed a trail into the Dismal Swamp and considered drowning himself. He walked all night through the swamp, but something made him decide to head back home. He worked as teacher for a few years, but he never enjoyed it. Then, in 1900, he and his wife, Elinor, lost their first child. He fell into despair. That year, Frost tried his hand at raising poultry on 30-acre farm after his grandfather took pity on him and bought him a farm in Derry, New Hampshire, in hopes that it would give him a steady income. The experience shaped his poetic voice and provided inspiration for his most popular later poems, but he was a terrible farmer. In a letter to a friend, Frost wrote, "The only thing we had was time and seclusion."

He was 39 when he published his first collection of poems, A Boy's Will (1913), and it was a major success.

22 comments:

  1. I loved this one! I saved Friday's, too:

    ...I'd like this to be no weekend stay
    Where a single change of clothes is sufficient.
    Bring clothes for all seasons, enough to fill a closet;
    And instead of a single book for the bedside table
    Bring boxes of all your favorites...

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    1. Audrey - Wasn't Friday's poem wonderful?! I put it in my poetry folder, too.

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  2. I didn't realize he had had such a hard life. I also realize from your post that for some reason I have stopped getting my updates from Writer's Almanac! Must fix that!

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    1. Rhapsodyinbooks - I didn't know anything at all about Robert Frost's life. Just love my daily updates from Writer's Almanac!

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  3. Robert Frost is one of my favorites. I used to have one of those big 33 records of Frost reading his own poetry. His voice was so soothing. I should see if that survived to cd. Thanks for sharing a tribute to Mr. Frost. Happy Birthday.

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    1. Margot - Rober Frost is the first poet I ever liked, but I've never heard his voice. Will have to search for an audio clip of his voice - thanks for mentioning it!

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  4. What a perfect poem to start the week with. Thank you.

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    1. Joan Hunter Dunn - You're very welcome!

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  5. Thank you for sharing this, JoAnn. I keep saving the WA updates for "later," which of course, never arrives...Happy Spring!

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    1. DS - If I don't read my updates right away, it seems I never get back to them. Not sure what happened to our beautiful spring weather. We barely topped freezing today and the local apple growers are nervously looking at temps in the teens tonight!

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  6. Thanks for posting this, JoAnn. Frost is one of my favorite poets, all time. I didn't know today is so special. Love this poem you have here. I thought we're getting an early spring, seems like for us moisture comes down as snow. ;)

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    1. Arti - Frost will always be special to me because he was the first poet I ever really appreciated. Our early spring seems to have vanished with temps dropping to the teens tonight. The apple growers are nervous!

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  7. That is such a timely poem!! I loved it and I honestly like that style. Learning a bit more about his life was interesting.

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    1. Staci - Poetry was always such a chore for me, but I'm slowly learning to appreciate it as I get older. Robert Frost is a gem.

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  8. Robert Frost is the only poet I managed to enjoy - always had an under appreciation of poetry when I was younger. What the heck happened to the warm weather?

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    1. Diane - For the past couple of years, I've been gradually spending more time on poetry - always hated it when I was in school. We has temps in the teens Monday night!

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  9. Beautiful photo, and beautiful poem as well. I especially will try to keep this line with me during the next few hectic weeks:

    "...keep us here
    All simply in the springing of the year."

    Thanks, JoAnn!

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    1. Col - You're welcome! I loved that line, too.

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  10. I love that he was 39 before his poetry was published. Gives all of us middle-agers hope :)

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    1. Stacybuckeye - That is an encouraging tidbit ;-)

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  11. I have always liked Robert Frost's poetry from the first one I learned. Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening was in a children's book of poetry I received for Christmas one year. I love that poem and so many of his others.

    I didn't know his life was so difficult.
    Thank you for posting this poem and Frost's Birthday~

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    1. Amy - That was probably one of the first poems I learned, too. Such a hard life though...

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