Friday, April 25, 2014

Papa is a Poet

Nothing Gold can Stay
by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so for an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day,
Nothing gold can stay.

I have a special place in my heart for Robert Frost. He's just one of those poets that has inspired me on and off throughout my life. So I was delighted to find Natalie S. Bober's book Papa is a Poet, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon. It is perfect to celebrate the end of National Poetry Month.

The story of Frost's life is told from the perspective of his eldest child, Lesley. She recollects the times spent with her father, and the rest of the family, on their farm in Derry, New Hampshire. From family picnics, to her father's love of books, to his teaching Lesley to read at an early age, it is evident that Frost was a good and loving father. 

It is also evident that his early work as a poet was not the most lucrative. For years he worked his farm, while writing poetry at night. This is the plague of the artist, isn't it? A love of creation, beauty, the world around them, but very little means to turn that love into food and shelter. It takes guts to buck the system, declare your passion for poetry. You've got to have drive to work a day job, farm or otherwise, and spend your nights writing. I am reminded by Frost's life that the early years of learning art may not be very financially productive, but if you keep at it, slowly, eventually, you will turn your art into something tangible. 

Frost did sell his poetry, and he became one of the most celebrated poets in America. I admire his courage, his desire to write poetry, and mainly, his commitment through all the artistic struggles to care for and love his family. Adoring children, of course, is the best payment of all.

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