January 18, 2009

Poetry for a new beginning

1961 Robert Frost at Kennedy's Inauguration

It was a cold windy snowy day. Frost wrote Dedication specifically for the occasion. The sun blinded him, the wind shook the paper he was holding. Frost then recited from memory his 1941 poem 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......


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....
"

Those words! So appropriate in 1941 when penned, 1961 when recited, and today. What are we withholding? What can we give?

I was a Baby Boomer in Junior High. We watched the inaugural events on the evening news. We Baby Boomers considered Kennedy part of us -- he was young, he was vibrant. Earlier this week I was shocked to realize he was born in 1917, long before the boomer generation. It was a new generation for the presidency.

Tomorrow, reflections on other Inaugurations.

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