Tuesday, August 19

holding fast

In my memory is an episode the leading figures of which are Frost and Stevens. I was told it by Stevens and I often play it over in my mind, like a short home movie, for the pleasure it gives me. The time is late at night and the place is Florida. Frost and Stevens, who are staying at the same resort hotel, have been out drinking at a bar somewhere along the beach. Tipsily, in perfect contentment, they are making their way back to the hotel on a boardwalk that runs a foot or so above the sand. They are holding fast to each other, and each is sure that it is he who is supporting his companion. Frost staggers, catches his heel on the edge of the boardwalk, and starts to fall. Stevens strengthens his hold on him, but in vain—over Frost goes, with Stevens on top of him. The two bulky old poets fall in a single knot onto the sand and start rolling over and over in the moonlight down the long slope of the beach to the edge of the sea.

-- Brendan Gill, on Wallace Stevens and Robert Frost, in Here at The New Yorker

Here at The New Yorker