Friday, December 21, 2007

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Here's a poem for the first day of winter. Happy holidays from Poem of the Week!

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it's queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

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. Frost lived and taught for many years in Massachusetts and Vermont, and died in Boston on January 29, 1963.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes

Reading Hughes's famous poem again, I'm struck by his ambition and fearlessness. I think his proud, challenging style here echoes Whitman who, along with Carl Sandburg and Paul Laurence Dunbar, were Hughes's major poetic influences. It stuns me to think that this was written--that Hughes faced these issues--just over fifty years ago.

I, Too, Sing America.

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes was born in 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. Through his poetry, fiction and plays he tried to acurately portray the African-American experience in early to mid twentieth century America. He made major contributions to the Harlem Rennaisance, and is known for incorporating jazz influences into his work.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn.  Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass.  Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down.  Let the shed
go black inside.  Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to the air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid.  God does not leave
us comfortless, so let evening come.

Jane Kenyon wrote most her poetry while living on Eagle Pond Farm in New Hampshire with her husband, the poet Donald Hall.  When she died in April of 95, she was New Hampshire's poet laureate.