During this time of year the poem “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening,” by Robert Frost, resonates strongly. 

I first heard it recited by the late Sen.Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. His eloquence, and polished Bostonian accent, made for a highly captivating experience. 

Robert Frost was commonly referred to by the Kennedys. He read at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961 and was from the Northeast. 

Beyond the wonderful sense of solitude and reflection I appreciated the simplicity of acknowledging a moment in time:

Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village, though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep. 

Robert Frost – published 1923

Now by no means am I well versed in poetry but I do appreciate it for the effort and consideration one puts forth and the feelings/emotions it can bare. 

I come from a family of artists and though I’m remised of the art gene I tend to appreciate it for what it’s worth. 

A very tragic thing happened in our Wick family many years ago that we often do not speak to. My uncle Walt, the older of two brothers, lost his son Tom on June 30, 1973, in a car accident. He was just 17 years old. The pain was felt by my uncle, his children and my father and his children. The families were close and to lose a son was like dimming the sun. Seven years to the day on a drive back from a concert, my father lost his eldest son Stanley in a car accident. He too was 17 years of age. Though our family is blessed in so many ways there were tragedies too. The sun was a little dimmer. 

Eventually, my father and uncle came forward and created light where little existed. They founded the Tom and Stanley Wick poetry center at Kent State University. In effect, they created something of beauty out of such loss and pain. 

The Wick Poetry Center will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014. It has touched the lives of many aspiring and seasoned poets. There have been hundreds of workshops at local schools and clubs around Ohio and the country. It is but one of a few places in the United States that focus its efforts on poetry.

Hy Steinhurst was 88 years of age when he wrote the following poem. It was shared during the Giving Voice Performance in 2009 presented by the Wick Poetry Center. 

Ode to a Hammer

by Hy Steinhurst

As a twelve-year-old 

I coveted not my neighbor’s house,

and most certainly not his wife,

but powerfully lusted after his hand tools.

So, late on a winter afternoon,

when passing his produce store,

a gleaming silvery object in the gutter

caught my eye –

and, in violation of Number Eight,

I quickly pocketed it and walked on. 

The prick of conscience was

weak, lasting only an instant,

for I now owned a hammer,

and not a common hammer,

but a produce hammer.

Forged in an elegant T shape,

it lay comfortably flat in my pocket.

It has served me faithfully:

first, as a juvenile go-cart builder;

then, as a teenage craftsman;

and, as a college freshman,

hanging mementos in my dorm.

Later, in my army pack,

it served in World War II.

When peace came, we bought an old house,

a real fixer-upper, and the hammer 

was my constant, do-it-yourself companion.

Finally, settling into our retirement home,

once again hanging pictures

it is indispensable, 

unblemished by age, straight and true.

And now, it is poised

to become an heirloom.

For my daughter announces

that of all my worldly goods,

she opts to inherit

my hammer.

Here’s to enjoying the spirit and moment of the holiday’s Montrose. 

Francis Wick is the publisher of the Montrose Daily Press. He can be reached at 252-7099 or emailed at francisw@montrosepress.com.

 

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