15 August 2013

The Muse: Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
 Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower; 
but only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day, nothing gold can stay.
No you probably know that poem for one of two reasons, either you know that it was part of the collection of poems "New Hampshire" that won Robert Frost the 1924 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (along side other heavy hitters like "Fire and Ice" and "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening") or you know it because at some point you read S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders or more likely saw the Brat Pack film based on it.

This poem was Ponyboy's favorite, and becomes a metaphor for the unhappy plight of the Greasers, in particular the tragic figure of Johnny. Back in April for National Poetry Month we polled the teachers at my school on their favorite poems, and Frost came up again and again, this poem in particular. I discussed this with the head of the English department, saying I was surprised (Frost is not a particular favorite of mine)and he snorted in derision, dismissing this as a clear indicator of where people's taste in poetry is going, because "Frost is for babies, way too simplistic". To a certain degree I'm with him, but then again looking at the poem there is beauty in the simplicity, and yes, quite a bit of truth. You can't live in New England as Frost did, and I always have, without a deep reverence for the seasons and develop a certain cynicism about the fleeting nature of life. I think that there is a certain period of time when seasons, and the life and death that they bring with them coexist and they truly are fleeting. Those few days of spring when there are flowers bursting forth on bare winter branches with snow still on the ground. A tree that is dying and shedding golden and red leaves next to one that is still as green as the middle of summer. Anyway this dress reminded me of that, the transition between the vibrant greens of summer and the golden grasses and leaves of autumn. Its still summer here in New England but last night it went down to 49, and fall can't be too far off, which left me longing for longer sleeves and suede pumps. As for the Frost poem, having worked with students for many years now I have to confess that there is no book that I have ever seen students like as much as The Outsiders. In my district they read it in the 8th grade and have a big party where the kids get to dress up as either a Greaser or a Soc. It transcends gender, age, social groups. Its a timeless story, not too long, and written in a language that is easy for kids to understand. I have talked to kids years after they read it and they still have good things to say about ti, and many reread it. The teachers out there will tell you how rare that is. Perhaps it means that things that are gold actually do stay, in the rarest of cases.

Dress: vintage, no label, thrifted via Better Than New Consignment
Belt: vintage, no label, via Wright Square Antiques Mall
Necklace: J. Marcel
Headband: Anthropologie
Purse: vintage, Wright Square Antiques Mall
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik, thrifted via Wheeler School Clothing Sale


1 comment:

  1. That purse might be the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen! Thanks for linking up for Favorite Fashion Friday. Hope to see you back tomorrow!
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