Sunday, March 26, 2017

March the 26th



The poet, Robert Frost, was born on this day of March 26th in the year 1874, which would make him 133 years old if he were alive today. The photograph atop today's entry is of him on his eighty-fifth birthday (according to Wiki where this image is from) in 1959. He died four years later. When I think of Robert Frost, I recall his quotation, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."

Two of his poems come to my mind, The Road Not Taken and Mending Wall. The latter of the poems is posted below.

"Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'"

The poem reminds me of a Benjamin Franklin quote which goes like this, "Love thy neighbor — but don't pull down your hedge." I discussed that quotation here on Blogger in 2011 and if you'd like to reference that entry, please click here.

Like Robert Frost,  the playwright, Tennessee Williams, was also born on March 26th, but it was in the year of 1911, and he died in February of 1983 at the age of seventy-one. A little over two weeks ago, on March 8th, I saw a production of William's play, The Glass Menagerie, which I wrote about in a recent entry on Facebook.

March 26th is also associated with another deceased writer, Edna St. Vincent Millay. In this instance the association has nothing to do with her birthday (she was born in February 22, 1892 and died at the age of fifty-eight during the month of October). In he case of  Edna St. Vincent Millay, March 26th is the date E.B. White published a mini essay about her and the craft of writing (in 1927). It's posted below:


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