NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY — by Robert Frost
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
I’m feeling reflective today. I’m not sure why…maybe it is the loss of Jacob this week combined with all the other stressors I have been dealing with. I was going to simply post another Thursday Thirteen but couldn’t come up with anything even vaguely entertaining and the Frost poem above kept coming into my head.
The year I was in sixth grade, The Outsiders came out in the movies and the book by SE Hinton was THE book. All of my friends were obsessed with it. We all read it and cried our eyes out. I know for me, I felt a deep connection with the characters in the book – I could completely understand them. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend you do. On the surface, it is about conflict between the haves and the have nots. But really it’s about relationships and about the hard realities we face in life. In the angst and the drama, the main character, Ponyboy, shares the poem with his friend Johnny and they talk about how nothing gold can stay, life is always changing and things can’t stay the same, even when we want them to desperately. In a particularly poignant scene not long after, Johnny says to Ponyboy, “Stay gold”.
Today, this keeps coming in to my mind. I used to be able to recite this poem from memory and probably still could today. I remember my friends and I signing notes to each other, “Stay gold”. If there is any memorabilia in my mom’s house from that year, I’m certain I’ll find it written somewhere.
Back then, I think we truly thought we could “stay gold”. That things would stay as they were, we would always be friends, and life would be as it was then forever. But Frost was right. People pass away, friends move on, children get sick, jobs change…life changes.
And nothing gold can stay.