The Absent Ghost

Because I tend to ramble, I actually forgot why I brought out Dark from my old room and brought it up in my previous entry: to mention the unusual but somewhat appropriate inclusion of Robert Frost’s “Home Burial” in its pages.

Apart from being the only poem in an anthology of prose, “Home Burial” is hardly about murder or the supernatural. Calling it madness is a stretch. As a dramatization of mourning, it’s unparalleled, at least in my opinion.

Randall Jarrell’s reading of the poem is considered definitive and may be read here, along with several others, and a more recent exhaustive per-line exploration is found in this threepart annotation. All of which isn’t to say that the poem itself isn’t worth reading. It’s emotionally grueling.

I’m not always attuned to Frost’s poetry and poetics, but sometimes, when I find myself wishing I had the ability to write a dramatic situation in verse, it’s “Home Burial” I hold up as a model.

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