Sunday, January 20, 2013

wintry detail

A snippet from the Writer's Almanac sets my imagination in motion. Inauguration Day 1961. John F. Kennedy has invited his favorite poet, Robert Frost, to read a poem. He is the first president ever to do this. Frost is 86 with a shock of white hair. Bundled in a heavy overcoat and scarf, he takes his place at the podium. He has written a new piece called The Dedication to commemorate the day. But the glare caused by sun shining off of yesterday's heavy snowfall makes him unable to read the typed words. He recites a shorter poem, The Gift Outright, from memory instead, then hands the original, handwritten poem to Jacqueline Kennedy who will have it framed and placed on the wall in her husband's office. A tiny drama unfolding against the sweeping backdrop of history. A moment in time that brings that day to life again.

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