Well, I have done quite a few short poems during this personal challenge of recording and posting a poem each day of National Poetry Month. So this time I thought I’d do a bit of a longer reading for you. I have been wanting to read “Birches” for some time. I grew up a bit of a country boy, spending a lot of time in the hills and fields and ridges around my uncle Bob’s barn (and no, sadly by uncle Bob, I do not mean tonight’s poet, Robert). I mention a stand of birches down the hill from that farm in my own poem on day five of this month, “Fire Flies,” though I cannot say I was ever a swinger like Mr. Frost.
According to the Poetry Foundation, whom I know I’ve quoted many times–nope they are not paying me a cent, thank you–Frost more or less “stands at the crossroads of nineteenth-century American poetry and modernism.” This is one of his, for me, more challenging pieces to read well, because of it being written in blank verse. It could sound very prosy, or it could sound rather sing-song-ish. Not wanting to lose the beauty of the meter I aimed for something in between, not quite the sermonic chant with which the poet himself recites, but rhythmic and just a tad slower.
Honestly, the poem nearly makes me cry at the metaphor of almost going, skyward, but then returning: “Earth’s the right place for love:/ I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.” I cannot explain it to you, but something gets caught in my throat when I read or hear those lines. Read along by clicking here (opens in a new window), and see if you get a little of what I mean.
Thank you for listening.
- “Fire and Ice,” a Poem by Robert Frost, read by DJB (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- After Apple Picking: Read by Robert Frost (keepthecoffeecoming.wordpress.com)