January 23, 2021
On January 20, 1961, Frost, now an octogenarian, became the guide poet to be read at the inauguration ceremony of an American Union leader. Poetry elevated to a state issue.
At JFK’s request, Frost recited The Absolute Gift, a history of America in a few lines: “The land was ours before we were the land/ She was our land for over a hundred years/ Before we were her people. She was ours/In Massachusetts, in Virginia/Though we were from England, still colonial/ Owning what we did not yet own/ Possessed by what we did not now own/ Something we held back made us weak/ Until we found out that it was we ourselves/ Who held back from the land where we would live, / And immediately we found salvation in surrendering/As we were we gave ourselves away absolutely/( The record of the gift was too many records of