Birches

So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.

In ‘Birches’ (1915), the US poet Robert Frost (1874-1963) ponders the nature of unusually low tree branches, recognising that they must have been sunken by ice storms, but preferring to believe that they’ve been bent by the carefree swinging of children at play. From this imagery, he contrasts the rational and world-weary tendencies of adults with the unbridled freedom of youth. In this reading of the poem by Frost at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 1955, his aged, emotive baritone pairs perfectly with his striking imagery and wistful words. Featuring audio first digitised by the MET in 2020, this visual adaptation pairs Frost’s reading of one of his most celebrated works with woodland footage and apt imagery from the museum’s collection.

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