Robert Frost (1874-1963)
"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without
losing your temper."
|Robert Frost was born in San Francisco in 1874. He moved to New
England at the age of eleven and became interested in reading and writing
poetry during his high school years in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was
enrolled at Dartmouth College in 1892, and later at Harvard, but never
earned a formal degree. Frost drifted through a string of occupations after
leaving school, working as a teacher, cobbler, and editor of the Lawrence
Sentinel. His first professional poem, "My Butterfly," was published on
November 8, 1894, in the New York newspaper The Independent.
|In 1895, Frost married Elinor Miriam White, who became a major inspiration
in his poetry until her death in 1938. The couple moved to England in 1912.
By the time Frost returned to the United States in 1915, he had published
two full-length collections, A Boy's Will and North of Boston, and his
reputation was established.
The Atlantic Monthly; June, 1951; "Robert Frost's America";
Volume 187, No. 6; pages 32-34.
|Robert Frost lived and taught for many years in Massachusetts and
Vermont, and died on January 29, 1963, in Boston.
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.
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