The Grave of Robert Frost

The Old Bennington Cemetery is doing a great job maintaining their grounds. For more than 350 years, this cemetery has served Bennington, Vermont and includes several governors, lots of Revolutionary War soldiers and the great (maybe the greatest) 20th century American poet, Robert Frost.

For most of my cemetery visits, I’m alone while I walk among the tombstones. I doubt even a popular grave like Emily Dickinson‘s gets more than one pilgrim per day. On my way to Robert Frost’s grave, I passed three families on their way back to the street and they were speaking French. Frost est très formidable, n’est-ce pas?

His grave is neat and tidy, no gifts from fans allowed. There are three large flat stones. The poet is in the middle where he rests with his wife and the four of his six children who preceded him in death. The stone to the left has his two daughters who survived him plus some grandchildren and a son-in-law. The stone to his right is blank. I assume he reserved that space for even more descendants.

In front of two of the stones they posted copies of two of his famous poems, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and In a Disused Graveyard. I won’t question the poetic choices made by cemetery management but my favorite of his work and maybe my favorite poem of all time is Nothing Gold Can Stay. He packs so much meaning into a mere forty words arranged in eight rhyming lines. Brilliant!

I remember once confessing to a girlfriend some envy of the success of a fellow poet and she consoled me by saying, “You’re not competing with them. You’re competing with Shakespeare.” And I think I have a shot against Shakespeare, since I’m writing with 500 years of giant shoulders to stand upon but against Frost, my best hope is to be a pale imitation or a mildly amusing parody.

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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12 Responses to The Grave of Robert Frost

  1. Yes, that is a real stunner. I’m memorizing that one Bart. It’s like the Chrysoprasino Fyllo, the golden-green leaf I was listening to a song about today. It’s for that one moment. Be happy you saw it, I say.

    In these time it seems even more significant. Glad you stopped by his bones.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s also amazing to see the infant mortality from a century ago and the poem on the graves is already etched in my memory. It really sums it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Frost is a good name for somebody from Vermont.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. JeanMarie says:

    I like the sign that says, I paraphrase, “no littering.” I always think of him as one of the old ones, but he died just a bit less than 2 years from when I was born. We were almost contemporaries. Reading the family names, I had to read the family story on the Wiki page. So much grief and loss. I can see where the poem “Nothing Gold can Stay” came from.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. berniebell1955 says:

    Robert Frost – that’s more like it.

    “The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.”

    I’ve mentioned Jackie Morris – to me, these images, pictures, ideas etc – link…

    ….and also with your ‘Nigh Sounds’ poem.

    Snowfall in dark woods – silence, beauty. Peace.

    Here’s a tale We know a very inspired artist, called Annie Cattrell . Annie has a piece of her work in the Forest of Dean sculpture trail. Mike and I had walked the sculpture trail some years ago. There is one place where the trees have little plaques on them saying ‘Peace’ and ‘Silence’ and other similar words/ideas. Annie told us that when the chap who made those plaques died the one saying ‘Silence’ fell off the tree and smashed.

    Woods – trees – something else.

    I didn’t know that ‘four of his six children… preceded him in death’. The child to go before the parent is always hard and seems to go against nature – but four of them. What does that do to a person?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. berniebell1955 says:

    Finger slippage again… for “Nigh Sounds”…read Night Sounds.

    Your poem tells of when night sounds, come nigh. Spooky?

    Liked by 1 person

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