|Golden Gate Bridge|
As the first poem mentioned in Robert Frost: A Life by Jay Parini, it's clear that "A Peck of Gold" has a special place in the hearts of both Frost and Parini. Frost published this poem at the age of 54 in 1928, reportedly looking back on his memory of San Francisco, the city where his life began. Parini writes that in the poem, "Frost would register some of the atmosphere of that city by the sea" (Parini 7). Even with the Gold Rush long over, the city was still hustling and bustling with people. Speaking of San Francisco, Frost said, "The excitement of the place appealed to my father. He was part of it. There was gold dust in his eyes, you might say" (7). After his father's death, Frost moved to Massachusetts, but he would always marvel at the impression that San Francisco had on him.
"A Peck of Gold" by Robert Frost
Except when sea-fog laid it down,
And I was one of the children told
Some of the blowing dust was gold.
All the dust the wind blew high
Appeared like god in the sunset sky,
But I was one of the children told
Some of the dust was really gold.
Such was life in the Golden Gate:
Gold dusted all we drank and ate,
And I was one of the children told,
'We all must eat our peck of gold.'
The main thing that struck me in this poem was the image that Frost was able to create within the reader's mind. I could imagine the fog as it overtook the city and the sunset in all of its beauty. Frost's time spent in his birthplace was limited. He moved across the U.S. at the young age of 11. Born in Belgium, I too had this same experience when I moved to the U.S. at the age of 2. This poem shows the impact the San Francisco had on Frost in his short time there. He remembers stories of the Gold Rush, and demonstrates the impacts that it had on the city. Unluckily, I don't have memories of the city that I was born in. I wish that I had stored-up memories of Brussels in my brain so that I could write a poem just like Frost did. I guess I'll just have to wait until I go back to visit.
Hear me read the poem: