Friday, June 3, 2016

The Living Dead

~ Honouring our poetic ancestors ~

The Last Mowing

By Robert Frost (1874-1963

There's a place called Far-away Meadow
We never shall mow in again,
Or such is the talk at the farmhouse:
The meadow is finished with men.
Then now is the chance for the flowers
That can't stand mowers and plowers.
It must be now, through, in season
Before the not mowing brings trees on,
Before trees, seeing the opening,
March into a shadowy claim.
The trees are all I'm afraid of,
That flowers can't bloom in the shade of;
It's no more men I'm afraid of;
The meadow is done with the tame.
The place for the moment is ours
For you, oh tumultuous flowers,
To go to waste and go wild in,
All shapes and colors of flowers,
I needn't call you by name.

It occurred to me that I hadn't yet featured Robert Frost, considered one of the greatest – if not THE greatest – of American poets. I didn't want to use the ones that are most well-known, so had a hunt and found this one which was new to me. I hope it may be new to some of you as well.

I like it because of the way the speaker so exults over the wildflowers he anticipates in the discarded meadow. There is an exuberance, both about the imagined flowers and in the speaker's voice. It's rather a nice follow-on from Angie Walker's celebration of flowers in 'I Wish I'd Written This' last week.

There is a long article on his poetics at The Poetry Foundation, detailing his interesting position as neither strictly a traditionalist nor yet a modern free-versifier. Rather, he worked to make metrical verse convey current rhythms of spoken language – particularly that of the New England he inhabited.

Wikipedia has a briefer account of his life and work, including such highlights as his four Pulitzer Prizes, his teaching and farming careers, and the fact that he was chosen to deliver a poem at President Kennedy's Inauguration.

I am going to have to leave you to research these further yourself, as I am having internet problems due to wild weather, and need to schedule this post while I can. I imagine many of you do already know a lot about Frost, and perhaps learned about him in school.

Material shared in 'The Living Dead' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, where applicable (older poems may be out of copyright)


  1. A poet widely known and loved. I'm sure everyone has a fav work of his.

  2. It is wonderful to read this Frost poem, which I had not come across. We get so saturated by Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening, LOL.......this one brims with joy and anticipation of beautiful wildflowers. Thanks, Rosemary.I love the wild weather of winter - enjoy!!

    1. Not to mention The Road Not Taken! (Mind you, both of these are wonderful, and deservedly well-known.)

  3. I like this very much, Rosemary. You are right it is one that is unfamiliar. I like its flow, its tone, its message;and I am reminded again that NO one can write poems like Robert Frost does!

  4. What fun! I'd forgotten this and his desire/fear of the wild. I mean, the flowers! But then come the trees which flowers cannot grow in the shade of ... but flowers are done with men and their naming for sure. Wild! Two other well-known ones are my favorites: "Fire and Ice" and "Nothing Gold can Stay."

    1. Thank you. These are not familiar to me either (even though I own a volume of Frost ... perhaps I have just forgotten; it's been a long time sine I dipped in). I'll hunt them up now.

  5. a beautiful Frost poem & it's new to me too...thanks for the share Rosemary.

  6. Frost is a lovable poet. Nice that you're highlighting him here. I hadn't read this poem. It's delightful. Thanks Rosemary.

  7. Delighted to have found for you a Frost poem that wasn't so generally known, and that you all like it as much as I do.

  8. You certainly surprised us all with that poem of his. Flowers certainly have the rest of the world worked out by making us all work for their reproduction even in this case by neglect!

  9. This is new to me too...Frost is my very favorite poet. And this poem is perfect....I adore meadows and wildflowers, and have my own meadow. My haven as Frost describes it...thanks for bringing this poem to us, and especially to me!


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