Robert Frost – American Bard

Day 323 of Colourisation Project – March 26

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

President John F. Kennedy said of him, “He has bequeathed his nation a body of imperishable verse from which Americans will forever gain joy and understanding.”

Born this day, March 26, 1874 in San Francisco, Robert Lee Frost was the unofficial “poet laureate” of the United States and a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry.

Photographer Unknown ~ Robert Frost c 1910 ~ Colourised by Loredana Crupi

One of America’s most popular poets of the twentieth century, Frost’s poetry traversed human tragedies, loneliness and loss, pastoral themes, life’s complexities and ultimately the acceptance of its burdens, as well as meditations on the simple things in life, like ice weighing down the branches of a birch tree or mowing a field of hay.

It has frequently been suggested that you cant be a true artist unless you have suffered in life. Take for instance, John Milton. He wrote Paradise Lost after the pain of losing his second wife and daughter in childbirth, as well as his eyesight. Van Gogh painted The Starry Night in a state of torment locked up in an asylum at Saint-Remy.

Frost had his fair share of pain and grief. His life seemed to be plagued with it. His alcoholic father died of tuberculosis when he was 11 years old. In 1920, Frost had to commit his younger sister Jeanie to a mental hospital, where she died nine years later at the age of 53. Mental illness ran in his family; Frost himself suffered from depression, as did his mother, whilst his daughter Irma was committed to a mental hospital in 1947 at the age of 41. Frost’s wife, Elinor, also experienced bouts of depression.

They had six children: one son Elliot died of cholera at the age of 8; another son Carol committed suicide at age 38; a daughter Marjorie died at age 29 of puerperal fever after giving birth; and another daughter Elinor died just three days after her birth. Frost’s wife, suffered heart problems throughout her life, developed breast cancer in 1937, and died of heart failure in 1938.  That’s more human tragedy than anyone should have to bear.

Frost received more than 40 honorary degrees during his lifetime and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960. His Pulitzer Prizes were for his collections titled, New Hampshire (1924), Collected Poems (1931), Further Range (1937) and A Witness Tree (1943).

Robert Frost died in Boston on January 29, 1963 at the age of 89.

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“I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”   –  The epitaph engraved on Robert Frost’s tomb – an excerpt from his poem The Lesson for Today.

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