Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Springtime Dreams

A handwritten letter from Robert Frost.

In the winter of 1956, Robert Frost made inquiries about acquiring apple trees for his home in Ripton, Vermont. Ira Glackens, a farmer with an orchard in New Hampshire, was only too happy to provide:

It would be a signal honor for me to supply some scions to Robert Frost, -- I am almost tempted to write to Mr. Frost myself, so many years have I been devoted to his poetry. And he wrote, ‘Goodby and Keep Cold’, my favorite poem about Apple trees. 

I can offer, but not in large quantities in most cases, the following which you name; Red Astrachan; Porter; August Sweet (which is the same as Sweet Bough); and Sops of Wine (Sopsevine). A neighbor has the Old Peach, or Montreal Peach. I cannot supply the original Duchess, but only the later sub-variety, Red Van Buren. I do not have Gravenstein, as I lost both trees I set out.

Frost’s response is enthusiastic: “Your letter fills my hibernation with springtime dreams…” The two go on about his aspirations for apple trees, more thoughts on different varieties, and the best way to get new trees started and producing fruit early.

To read the whole of this correspondence, ask for MS-1178, Box 15 Folder 1. To read the first appearance of "Good-by and Keep Cold" in print, ask for MS-1178, Box 32 Folder 17.