Robert Frost is one of my very favourite poets.
Today marks the 45th anniversary of his death. I remember back to school days when we would read a lot of his work. The poems that most come to mind are Birches, Out, Out…, Stopping by The Woods on a Snowy Evening, and of course, The Road Not Taken. I think it was the rural, subsistence living themes of his poetry that most captures my imagination. I always loved his poetry and continued to read it – even when I did not have to. In fact I was so proud of myself for buying a collection of his work when I was a student at Memorial University, just for my own reading.
Having read that he died 45 years ago today I jumped online and starting reading his poems again. It was good to be reminded of the pondering of the horse in Stopping by the Woods. It was good to be back in that fork in the road and empathizing with the difficult decision of the author. I read Birches again and it was as if it was my first time, even though I have read it dozens of times. To be honest the imagery of being bent by the weight of cold ice and yet not being broken seems to mean more to me this week. His poetry is just fantastic. It is simple, it is real, and it brings life to vivid pictures that live in my mind.
The poem that struck me most today was To the Thawing Wind. Now that may be because the weather today is mild and raining and the little bit of snow that we had has thawed and is gone. Perhaps my interest in this poem is the fact that there is a mighty cold Alberta Clipper coming in tonight that is going to see the temperatures drop 20 degrees from what they were today. But it is for a little more than that. I think it may be the longing or the freshness that we always feel when the warm southwest breeze blows after we have suffered the cold. In Whiteway that was always quite pronounced. The Northeast wind was always so cold and when the Sou’east wind blew it always felt great. I think I was drawn to this poem today because we all love to feel warmed, and refreshed, and set free from all that freezes us where we are. I don’t know why I love this poem really – I just do! Here it is;
To the Thawing Wind
Come with rain. O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
make the settled snowbank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate’er you do tonight,
bath my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ice will go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit’s crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o’er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out of door.