On Frost and Poetry

So I love poetry. I can’t say I always have. But I can say that since before high school I enjoyed poetry.

I wasn’t your normal child.

I played sports growing up. Was quite good actually. From a young age I played on a select soccer team that traveled all over the state and out of state and won a good number of tournaments. From six grade on I was also a referee. At 14 I started to play guitar. I had a friend give me lessons who actually went on to be a mildly successful musician. He’s released several albums and resides in Nashville. All that to say from what I just wrote you might think I was “cool.”

Let me assure you: I was not. I have always been someone that is hard to pigeonhole. Video games, board games, fantasy and science fiction are things I enjoyed growing up just as much I enjoyed the locker room camaraderie of sports.

One day I was snooping around my older sister’s room (yes, I was that kind of a little brother) and I discovered a book that had poems in it. Not sure why she had it but I sat down and I started to read it. The poem was “Memory” by Thomas Bailey Aldrich.

My mind lets go a thousand things
Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
And yet recalls the very hour–
‘T was noon by yonder village tower,
And on the last blue noon in May–
The wind came briskly up this way,
Crisping the brook beside the road;
Then, pausing here, set down its load
Of pine-scents, and shook listlessly
Two petals from that wild-rose tree.

Perhaps it is because my mom used to call me “Forgetful Jones” when I was little but something about that opening line caught my attention. Ever sense, I’ve enjoyed poetry.

I like lots of poems and poets, but I should probably clarify: I rarely enjoy free form poetry. I think there is great talent displayed in someone communicating through the form of a sonnet. It is like a canvas: their is only so much space they can use to communicate their message. And over time, one of my favorite poets came to be Robert Frost. Perhaps that is cliche but he is a wonderful poet.

Maybe it is because of all the snow we’ve had lately but Stopping By A Wood on a Snowy Evening has been on my mind. And so this past Monday I woke up and had a poem in my head.

Digression: the creative process for me works in an odd way. When I wake up the idea is there, sometimes fully formed. I don’t mean I dream it because I often remember my dreams. Let’s say I watch too much Seinfeld. Then I’ll dream about Seinfeld. But as my alarm goes off and I wake up–my mind will suddenly be filled with an idea; a story; a poem. That’s what happened this past Monday, as my mind and body seemed to fuse back together and I became aware of the world once again I had the following poem fully formed in my mind. And when I say fully formed in less than 5 minutes I wrote this down and I haven’t changed it since.

Here is mine (left) and the master’s (right) so you can see how my poem is a homage to the master:

“Over sleeping on a super bowl Monday”
What day it is, I think I know

It’s Monday! Oh how I hate it so!

Oh why did I have that last beer

Instead of water? Oh my head, oh!
My wife must think it queer

The way I stand and stare at this mirror

Hoping soon my mind will awake

“Honey, the alarm? Please be a dear?”
I give the alarm clock a shake

To ask it if there is some mistake

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of soft sheets and downy flake.
Snow? My bed is lovely, dark and deep

And this headache promises to keep

Me in bed and still asleep

I’ll stay in bed and go back to sleep.

“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 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 is 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.

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