Monday, January 29, 2007


We lost the great Robert Frost On January 29Th, 1963-- the very same year we lost John F. Kennedy in November. What an amazing poet. I have written a song in tribute to this great man entitled "MILES TO GO". It was recorded brilliantly by my dear friend TONY WESTBROOK. I remember the day of that recording session. It was a tough go for him. Dear Terry Snyder who was there recording other songs with him and solo helped him nail it-- and when he did-- it was absolute magic. Overall, I think it's the very best thing Tony has recorded since FLY ME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. Of course everyone knows that Robert Frost read a special poem at JFK's inauguration on January 20Th, 1961. It was an amazing moment.Though not notably associated with any political party, Frost recited the poem, "The Gift Outright". Nominally a tribute to the country's early Colonial spirit ("This land was ours before we were the land's"), the poem ends on an optimistic, but characteristically ambivalent, note:
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

Frost had intended to read another poem, "Dedication", which he had written specifically for Kennedy and for the occasion. But with feeble eyesight, unfamiliarity with the new poem, and difficulty reading his typescript in the bright January light, Frost chose only to deliver the poem he knew from memory (which he did in strong voice, despite his 86 years).
In April 2006, a handwritten copy of "Dedication" was donated to the Kennedy library in Boston, Massachusetts; it had come from the estate of one of Kennedy's special assistants (who died the year before). On the manuscript, Frost had added "To John F. Kennedy, At his inauguration to be president of this country. January 20Th, 1961. With the Heart of the World," followed by, "Amended copy, now let's mend our ways." After removing the paper backing from the frame, a Kennedy archivist discovered a faintly-legible handwritten note from Jacqueline Kennedy "For Jack, January 23, 1961. First thing I had framed to put in your office. First thing to be hung there."

The glory of a next Augustan age
Of a power leading from its strength and pride,
Of young ambition eager to be tried,
Firm in our free beliefs without dismay,
In any game the nations want to play.
A golden age of poetry and power
Of which this noonday's the beginning hour.

Frost represented the United States on several official missions, including a meeting with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. After the latter meeting, he told a press conference in New York on September 9 [1962] that Khrushchev "thought Americans were too liberal to fight," a remark which so angered Kennedy, that he severed the hitherto cordial relations between himself and Frost, refusing so determinately to speak to him again that he declined both Stewart Udall's request in January 1963 that he send the dying Frost a final message and ignored "pleas from the eighty-eight year old poet's deathbed." Great men have even greater tempers. All Robert Frost had done was report what the Russian leader had said. My struggle continues to raise the money to get my car out of hawk and I'm praying I can rid myself of the extra financial burden of a monthly rent-a-car expense very soon. Another car exchange, now I'm driving a Dodge Cavalier. Well at least I'm doing a lot of interesting test drives!

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