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Yesterday was the 42th anniversary of the death of Robert Frost, American’s great poet. I must admit, Frost is my favorite poet. When I was in the 8th grade I had a football coach/English teacher. Of course, he preferred to talk more about football than poetry, but for some reason (which I never figured out) he made us memorize “Stopping By A Wood On A Snowy Evening”. That poem stays with me even today (“The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep”). Frost was local…I mean Merrimack Valley local. He moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts when he was just 11 years old and met his future wife there. In his early life Frost was a part of the fabricate of the Merrimack Valley. He wrote his first poem while in Lawrence High School and taught in Methuen. He once said “my year and a half in the Lawrence District School and my four years in Lawrence High School were the heart of my education”. But for many of us in our mid fifties and older, our strongest memory of Robert Frost is at the inauguration of President John Kennedy in 1961. I was ten years old…it was a frigid day in Washington DC. The Capital was covered in snow from an earlier storm. The sun glared off the snow so intensely it blinded the poet. Frost could not see the poem he had written for the occasion titled “Dedication”. He was 86 years old and feeble, yet stately. I can visualize him at the podium as if it were yesterday… the gray hair, the distinguished, wrinkled face. The text of his verse rendered useless by the sun, he recited from memory a poem he wrote in 1942 called “The Gift Outright”. The first line reads…”The land was ours before we were the lands”… fitting.
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