While rearranging the way too many books in my bookcase, my hands fell upon The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem (Holt, Rinehart and Winston: New York, 1969). I had not taken the book off the shelf in many a moon. The bookmark opened to “The Road Not Taken,” and I tried to remember what I was pondering the last time I read this poem. Perhaps nothing more than to greet the familiar words like an old friend. I used to read his poetry aloud to relax, enjoying the rhythm of the words. Perhaps it is time to return to such a delight as a spiritual discipline of self-care.

With the turning of the calendar to October, I invite you to discover one of his poems you might not know, titled appropriately, “October.” Read the words slowly in the morning while watching the leaves glide to the ground, some bright with color and others already brown. Might you read “October” aloud to a new friend while sipping tea on a chilly morning? Fall makes us feel reflective, and sometimes anxious about the tasks that lie ahead in November and December, and with these months come family responsibilities. There is no better time than now to give yourself self-care that tends to your mental and spiritual health and wellness.

Robert Frost 1874–1963

 

October
BY ROBERT FROST

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

When I am off to the races going here and there, and usually going no place as important as I think it is, I will remember, “O hushed October morning mild, Begin the hours of this day slow. Make the day seem to us less brief.”

 

The Poetry Foundation includes in its article about Robert Frost:

…In October, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech at the dedication of the Robert Frost Library in Amherst, Massachusetts. “In honoring Robert Frost,” the President said, “we therefore can pay honor to the deepest source of our national strength. That strength takes many forms and the most obvious forms are not always the most significant…. Our national strength matters; but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much. This was the special significance of Robert Frost.” (bold mine)

 

May you discover strength within your spirit and let your power shine into the world to bring light, love, hope and compassion to all you meet.

Peace and joy, Cheri.