Robert Frost in NH
Last week I visited the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH and enjoyed a lovely private tour of the two-story typical New England-style white clapboard farmhouse. First you go into the big barn where there is a lot of information and displays, and a video to watch, too. The property is a New Hampshire State Park, as well as a National Historic Landmark. Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963), an American poet and four-time Pulitzer prize winner, lived here with his family from 1900 to 1911. He graduated from Lawrence, MA high school in 1892 and then after a brief time at Dartmouth, he came back to the area to teach 8th grade. Three years after high school, he married his co-valedictorian Elinor White and they had six children. (Only two outlived their father). He attended Harvard for two years, as well. While in Derry, he taught at Pinkerton Academy (1906 to 1911).After the barn, you enter the connected house and see room after room of how life was during his time. My informative tour guide, Randee, pointed out many objects actually owned by the Frosts, including an original soapstone sink with marks where they sharpened their knives. I was told not to share any indoor pictures in this post, but there are plenty online for you to see with a simple search. The picture of two windows above is where Randee said Frost did a lot of his writing at a small table. I pictured him looking out at the flowers growing there while dreaming of new poems. I went back outside and did a short trail walk past some of the areas where Frost found his inspiration, a brook, lots of trees, a path, and even the famous mending wall. A few lines from “The Mending Wall”
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'
Opening of "The Road Not Taken"
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
After living in England for several years, Frost returned to New Hampshire, settling in Franconia for five years, before moving to Vermont in 1920 (where he helped found the Breadloaf School of English at Middlebury College), followed by two years in Michigan and then finally to Cambridge, MA in 1941. This next shot is looking back at his house from a far edge of the trail that circles the property.
Please click on the above mailbox to see a post I did two years ago after seeing his home in Franconia. There’s a beautiful poem from A Boy’s Will included there.
From the end of a long poem titled ‘New Hampshire’ written in 1922 after he’d left NH:
Well, if I have to choose one or the other,
I choose to be a plain New Hampshire farmer
With an income in cash of, say, a thousand
(From, say, a publisher in New York City).
It's restful to arrive at a decision,
And restful just to think about New Hampshire.
At present I am living in Vermont.
One last poem in its entirety:
“A Time to Talk” 1916
When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.