The Northville Review
an online literary journal
New Hampshire Normal School

Carl James Grindley

They fired Robert Frost, apparently
Because he was rude to students,
Refused to dine with colleagues
And did not publish. He had to go.
This was 1911. Then his farm

Failed and all of Europe went to war.
Millions died. It must have sucked.
But a few books later, Robert Frost
The Dude Who Just Got Fired became
Robert Frost the World Famous Poet.

Robert Frost the World Famous Poet
Did Jello shots with JFK, played
Frenetic be-bop piano at Bread Loaf
And collected Pulitzers the way
Nabokov collected bugs. Not too bad.

Somewhere in there, someone put up
A Bronze. And there he is, outside
Rounds—Rounds is a campus building
By the way. And outside Rounds
A bronze Robert Frost is sitting

On a bench, jacket off and suspenders
Showing, shirtsleeves rolled up, squinting
At his own future as he forever revises
“The Road Not Taken.” He is writing it
On a sheet of bronze with a bronze pen.

In 1911 it must have seemed
Like no one knew math
There he was with a chalk
Board covered with dense equations
And no one could figure out that X equalled

Him being a freaking god damn genius.
Then Matt Damon erased all that hard
Work and shot the Kaiser.
Millions died.
So what changed? What was the difference

Between Robert Frost in 1911
And Robert Frost forty years later
When he had forty Ph.D.s including
Two from Dartmouth?
For that matter, what was the difference

Between Robert Frost in 1911
And Robert Frost fifteen minutes
After leaving the Dean’s office
Pink slip in hand? It was not the poetry:
That had been written, and it is not like

He got nice: Dorothea Lange once
Photographed Robert Frost pushing
A nun in front of a bus of handicapped
Children. The nun died horribly
And the children were scarred for life,

But Time magazine paid Lange
A million dollars because Frost
Looked so awesome. Then Dartmouth
Gave him another three honorary
Ph.D.s just to be safe.

About the author

Carl James Grindley is a transplanted Canadian who lives in New Haven, Connecticut. His last novel, Icon, was published by No Record Press in 2008.