Frost in the Rain

view from the parking deck

view from a parking deck near campus

Evening classes at GSU were canceled today, due to all the rain we’ve had in metro Atlanta. On my way home I drove through inches of rain pooling on the surface of the highway. The cars in front of me sent fountains of water out from under their tires, and some drivers had their hazard lights on. Most people used their heads and drove slowly, but blue police sirens flashed every mile or so from accidents. It’s scary enough driving on Atlanta highways without having to worry about hydroplaning.

We’re still reading Robert Frost in my American Poetry class. For the test the professor is going to give us eight quotes. From the quotes we have to identify the poem, and then write an essay in which we illustrate everything we know about the poem in question. I’m going to read the poems, internalize them, and let fate take care of the rest.

We’ve been having bad weather in Atlanta for a half a week now. Last Thursday, just as the professor was reading Frost’s poem Once by The Pacific (West Running Brook, 1928), a storm swept in. As I looked out the window, Frost’s lines narrated what I saw:

The clouds were low and hairy in the skies

like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.

According to the professor, one day when Frost and his mother were on the beach in San Francisco, a huge storm hit the coast. The event terrified Frost, and stayed with him all his life. He started writing the poem when he was 18, at Dartmouth, but didn’t finish it until he was much older. The two lines I’ve quoted above are the only two that remain from his original poem. He certainly was a clever 18-year-old to have come up with the image of the hairy clouds and the locks blowing forward.

But we missed our class tonight. That means another week of Frost after this one, unless Dr. S decides to excise of few poems from the list. Next up is Edna St. Vincent Millay.

6 thoughts on “Frost in the Rain

  1. odessa says:

    wow, your class sounds so wonderful christine! though i don’t know if i’ll be as brave as you though, poetry + live class makes my palms sweat. hahaha. i love the lines that you quoted, he really was a brilliant 18-year old. and edna st. vincent millay – i’m jealous! good luck with the test and the weather! 🙂


  2. Michelle Johnson says:

    I’m sorry your classes were canceled but they sound very interesting. Good luck on your test. We’ve been having rain the last few days and I the downtown area had some flooding. Otherwise today is a bright sunny day. Hope all is well. Have a great day.


  3. carolee says:

    the thought of a poetry test creates so much anxiety in me i can’t describe it. but i think your approach is just right! (i’d be tempted to do all sorts of crazy stay up all night memorizing stuff and quizzing myself and missing the whole point. i was a diligent student who retained nothing. your plan sounds much better!)


  4. Michelle says:

    I love hearing about what you’re doing in class. And I think the test sounds like just the kind of challenge you’re up for … how can you really treat it as a test when it’s poetry – and this is what you really want to do. You’re not someone who has just left school and plunged into college, you’ve tasted life, you’ve had children, you’ve faced tough challenges. And you breathe and eat poetry, girlfriend. You’ll do great.


  5. Julie says:

    Hi, Christine. I love the Frost poem and the story behind it. Isn’t it awesome how poems start…and where they lead?

    I’m sorry about the bad weather. That sounds scary. Please be safe on those crazy roads!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s