Saturday, October 01, 2022

October by Robert Frost

Since it's October 1, I thought I'd post the October poem by Robert Frost, but some critic spoiled my plan by reminding the reader that Frost was writing about death. It's the crows. When poets write about crows, says the critic, that tells you death is coming. But critics know that, and I didn't.

So let's just go with face value of the poem. The rows of maples on Henderson and McCoy have just a touch of gold this morning. Always sad to see since we know what coming, but thankful for the beauty.

"Taken at face value, this poem speaks, with a simple elegance, of the unique beauty of a crisp October morning. With an attention to detail that is characteristic of Frost, the poem carefully lays out the scene: just a quiet morning in early October. The air is silent, “hushed” even, but for the distant sound of crows. Multicolored leaves paint the ground in bright colors-red and gold and brown. A simple scene, rendered instantly familiar to any New Englander. Who would think to look any further?"

I checked my blog, and I've written 3 other posts about Robert Frost. I’m old enough to have actually attended a poetry reading by Robert Frost, one of the 20th century’s most famous and favorite poets, when I was a student at the University of Illinois. (He died in 1963.) My date that night was someone I'd met at Chinese Student Club, and I'm not sure if he understood anything, but he was polite and listened carefully. My roommate Dora Lee was Chinese (her family escaped from Communist China) which is why I attended Chinese Student Club.

The poem ends with grapes.  Isn't that nice?   A symbol for communion for Christians, although I doubt Frost of thinking in that direction.

Serendipity trivia:  While I was looking for a photo of Frost at the U. of I. on the internet, I took my 1959 Illio (yearbook) off the shelf.  It didn't have a good table of contents or index for special events so I started leafing through it.  I saw a photo of students at the first football game packed in like sardines, and there were two women from my house, McKinley Hall, Sandra McArthur and Mary Jo Brodd.  I also attended that game (got sick which is why I remember), so I studied it pretty carefully to see if we might have had a block of tickets, but I didn't see me.

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