FROST DEDICATES JFK OUTRIGHT

For John F Kennedy's inauguration as President of the United States Robert Frost wrote a new poem entitled, "Dedication". Like many others he conceived the new president as young Lochinvar, the perfect combination of spirit and flesh, passion and toughness, poetry and reality:

"... The glory of a next Augustan age
Of a power leading from its strength and pride,
Of young amibition 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."

But the poet was old (87) and he couldn't see the words because of the sun's glare that bright, cold January day. The poem's newness to him and his unfamiliarity with and uncertainty about the way it went caused him to stumble uncertainly with his voice and tone and he gave up. Instead he fell back on an old one he knew perfectly, and in the most splendidly commanding of voices, recited it impeccably:

~ The Gift Outright ~

The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia.
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak.
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
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.

~ Robert Frost; 1874-1963 ~

JFK Library gets famous Frost poem ("A golden age of poetry and power, Of which this noonday's beginning hour"). WashPost, Apr 22, 2006

"Dedication" (the reading text of a poem Robert Frost composed for delivery at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy on 20 January 1961. The poem went undelivered, however, because the sun's glare upon the snow-covered ground blinded Frost from seeing his text. The poet put the manuscript aside and instead recited his poem "The Gift Outright" from memory)

"Dedication" (the complete text)

Reader asks if it was "Dedication" or "Kitty Hawk" that Robert Frost wrote for President Kennedy's Inaugural

JFK'S CASTLE WAS CAMELOT

FOCUS ON THE STAR OF JFK

INAUGURAL ADDRESS, by John F. Kennedy

POEMS & SONGS

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

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