Up a gravel path, past the lupins, is a modest white house perched on a hill. This is The Frost Place, where Robert Frost lived with his family for five years, from 1915 to 1920, and for 19 summers thereafter. In 1976 the town of Franconia, NH, where the house is located, bought the farmhouse and land and established a board of trustees to oversee what became an "educational center for poetry and the arts". Frost had first visited the White Mountains in 1907, staying in the town of Bethlehem; he said about the area that "there is a pang there that makes poetry".
There is a beautiful, expansive view of the mountains from the front of the house, a view that was probably more open when Frost lived here.
Behind the house is a trail through woods that was started in 1997. This land had been meadow in Frost's time, but has since grown up in woods.
This is the "Poetry and Nature Trail": as you walk on the path you can stop and read poems written by Frost while he was living here, poems with nature as their theme. I have a friend who was just telling me about how much she loved using her scythe; when I sent her the poem "Mowing" she felt that he "nailed it once again".
To read all these poems, click on the photos to enlarge them.
For me he nails it with "Putting in the Seed", the "watching for that early birth/....
....When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,/The sturdy seedling with arched body comes/...."
He captures the magic, the Love of it.
|"The Sound of the Trees"|
At my house the sound of trees is often one of storm, but their blowing and rustling is indeed more beautiful than many other noises that come from human activity. For all their activity the trees are immobile, stalwart, not like us with our moving on.
|"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"|
|"The Road Not Taken"|
Many of the poems on the trail are famous ones, poems we think of when we think of Robert Frost. It was a pleasure to read them in this setting (and would have been even nicer if the swarms of bugs weren't so intense).
The staff at The Frost Place worked to establish native wildflowers along the trail and manage the forest. Then in 2007 two terrible windstorms undid all their work, so restoration work has been ongoing.
|"Nothing Gold Can Stay"|
A lesson from storms, from seasons, from life, is perfectly expressed in this brief poem, one that tugs at my heart. Through nature, Frost touched on deep human feelings.