Robert Frost wrote poetry that was both lyrical and everyday, non-pretentious work that resonated across decades, earning him a place among the greatest poets of the 20th Century.
My love of poetry began early, fueled by the classic rhymes found in Mother Goose and fed by the poetry found in the Childcraft set we owned. Somewhere among the picture books, Dr. Suess, and the songs she sang at night, my mother worked in some poetry, stanzas recalled from her high school literature classes that included Vachel Lindsay and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
As a teen, I discovered, then claimed her lit books and bought my first book of poetry.
I had some literature classes in high school including a class on poetry, taught by Mrs. Mildred Stover at Neosho High School. A project in her class was to create our own collection of poetry and mine, which I still have, was titled "Favorite Poems From Childhood On."
Among those pages, there were a few of Robert Frost's poems among many others. One of those poems was "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening".
In a college course, one that focused on 20th Century Poetry, my professor called on me to recite the poem and to my own surprise, I did. The lines are that memorable.
As the new year gets underway, I have the final words of the poem in my consciousness.
It's a new year and all that implies but for me, it's more. It's the first calendar year in twenty-five that I'm not married. On Sunday, the date marks the one year anniversary of my husband's passing.
In Shakespeare's play "The Tempest", Miranda says, in part, "O, brave new world that has such people in it," and Prospero replies, "'Tis new to thee."
2020 is my brave new world. It's new to me as I continue on my journey, one that has changed as life so often does. Many things have changed in my life, large and smile.
The biggest change was the loss of my husband a year ago this past Sunday, on January 12, 2019. In the past twelve months, the changes have been monumental. My job has changed and evolved - adding increasing responsibility, more on my plate with less support staff. I drive a different vehicle and I live a different schedule. That happens when three adult children dwell under my roof with three diverse shifts.
I returned to teaching "Sunday School". I am working my way back with slow measure toward fiction, building a new novel after a too long hiatus, one word at a time.
There's a reason why the first month of the year in our calendar is named for Janus, the two-faced Roman god of past and present, gateways and transitions. The start of each new year always signals change, some years more than others.
As for me, I take to heart Frost's words and will mark them as I move forward into 2020.
"But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."
-Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a published author, a freelance writer and community editor for both the Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser .