Leon Abdalian took this photo in 1930 of The Old Manse in Concord, Mass., where Nathaniel Hawthorne lived, but we’re sharing it to celebrate the birthday of Robert Frost. The stone wall brings to mind one of Frost’s most beloved poems, Mending Wall.
Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874 in San Francisco, but it was the New England landscape that inspired him. He moved to Lawrence, Mass., when he was 11, married his high school sweetheart and tried farming in Derry, N.H. He taught school and wrote poetry; by the 1920s, he was one of the best known poets in America.
The critic Randall Jarrell called Frost one of the greatest 20th century American poets. “No other living poet has written so well about the actions of ordinary men,” wrote Jarrell. “His wonderful dramatic monologues or dramatic scenes come out of a knowledge of people that few poets have had, and they are written in a verse that uses, sometimes with absolute mastery, the rhythms of actual speech.”
Frost wrote Mending Wall in 1914, and it is considered one of his most masterful. It begins:
SOMETHING there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing: 5
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.
Read the whole poem, Mending Wall, here.