Michael Roberts On Hymns From A Meadow

“A Prayer in Spring” and “Rose Pogonias” come from Robert Frost’s poetry collection, A Boy’s Will (1913). Together with settings of two other poems from the same collection, “In Hardwood Groves” and “Stars” (performed by PEV this past December), they form a cycle I call Hymns from a Meadow.

The Hymns start with the summertime “saturated meadow” described in “Rose Pogonias” and imagine it transformed through the seasons so richly depicted in the remaining poems. The conceit of all four poems taking place in this same meadow is my own; as a nostalgic New Englander I couldn’t resist the idea of spending four seasons in a Frostian Eden somewhere in Vermont or New Hampshire, imagined though it may be.

I call these “hymns” because I consider Frost’s poems to be sacred texts. Though betraying obvious skepticism when it comes to a monolithic God, the poems leave no doubt that, for Frost, the sacred lay right outside his back door. “There we bowed us in the burning, As the sun’s right worship is,” he tells us in “Rose Pogonias.” In “A Prayer in Spring,” he contemplates the riot of flowers, bees, and birds, and concludes that “this is love and nothing else is love.” Every line is flush with reverence; the seemingly ordinary is somehow always revealed to be a miracle.

– Michael T. Roberts

The above two pieces will be performed in PEV’s Spring 2018 Concert.

Teresa Tauchi