The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Afternoon Tea

At the Frost Library.

Lately I've been getting away from UMass and spending a little time at the Robert Frost Library (above) at Amherst College. It's an extremely cool place, with a certain coziness that contrasts considerably with the massive skyscraper that is the UMass library.

The library opened in 1965, but the groundbreaking was in 1963 and attended by President John F. Kennedy. Here is a picture that I swiped from the library website of President Kennedy on that historic day.

Here is a picture of the presidential motorcade passing through the streets of Amherst.

Here is a picture of the citizens of Amherst surrounding the President as he wades into the crowd, an act of informality no modern President would be allowed to do.

Kennedy's visit to Amherst was especially historic because it was one of the last speeches he would ever give, as it was one of his final public appearances before his assassination.

"When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. It is hardly an accident that Robert Frost coupled poetry and power, for he saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. When power leads man towards his arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence."

President Kennedy speaking at the 1963 Amherst College Convocation and Ground Breaking for the Robert Frost Library.

Late this afternoon I walked into the Frost Library and found there was a public tea going on for the library patrons.

A number of people recognized me from this website and I had my picture taken by the bust of Robert Frost.

On the library wall is this framed poem by Amherst's other great poet, Emily Dickinson. It's not one of her more cheerful ones.

The heart asks pleasure first
And then, excuse from pain-
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering;

And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The privilege to die.


Tony said...

I wonder if Prozac has neutered some modern day poets.

Mary E.Carey said...

LOVE this post, Tom. Great Kennedy photos.

LarryK4 said...

I remember that visit well. My best friend and I managed to see the President lift off in his helicopter.

During the build up in excitement around town before his visit I first heard the whispered word “assassination”. When I asked my mother what it meant she replied: “A fancy term for murder.”

Even as a na├»ve 7-year-old I thought to myself “Never in Amherst.”