Monday, March 27, 2006

Yesterday in literature . . .

I didn't realize until today that several key things happened on yesterday's date (March 26) in the world of literature. And I couldn't just let them pass by! :-)

So yesterday in literature . . .

~ 1874 ~ Robert Frost was born in San Francisco

~ 1892 ~ Walt Whitman died in Camden, New Jersey

~ 1911 ~ Tennessee Williams was born in Columbus, Mississippi

I've always loved the story of Frost's poetry reading at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. Because of the bright sun, Frost couldn't see to read the new poem he had prepared for the occasion. So he instead recited an older one he knew perfectly.

"The Gift Outright"

The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia.
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak.
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.


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