Friday, June 6, 2008

POETIC JUSTICE

AP Call it poetic justice: More than two dozen young people who broke into Robert Frost's former home for a beer party and trashed the place are being required to take classes in his poetry as part of their punishment. Using "The Road Not Taken" and another poem as jumping-off points, Frost biographer Jay Parini hopes to show the vandals the error of their ways - and the redemptive power of poetry.

"I guess I was thinking that if these teens had a better understanding of who Robert Frost was and his contribution to our society, that they would be more respectful of other people's property in the future and would also learn something from the experience," said prosecutor John Quinn. . .

On Dec. 28, a 17-year-old former Middlebury College employee decided to hold a party and gave a friend $100 to buy beer. Word spread. Up to 50 people descended on the farm, the revelry turning destructive after a chair broke and someone threw it into the fireplace.

When it was over, windows, antique furniture and china had been broken, fire extinguishers discharged, and carpeting soiled with vomit and urine. Empty beer cans and drug paraphernalia were left behind. The damage was put at $10,600. Twenty-eight people - all but two of them teenagers - were charged, mostly with trespassing.

About 25 ultimately entered pleas - or were accepted into a program that allows them to wipe their records clean - provided they underwent the Frost instruction. Some will also have to pay for some of the damage, and most were ordered to perform community service in addition to the classroom sessions. The man who bought the beer is the only one who went to jail; he got three days behind bars. . .

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood," he thundered, reciting the opening line of the first poem, which he called symbolic of the need to make choices in life. "You come to a path in the woods where you can say, `Shall I go to this party and get drunk out of my mind?'" he said. "Everything in life is choices."

1 Comments:

At June 7, 2008 3:38 PM, Anonymous Home Burial said...

"Three foggy mornings and one rainy day
Will rot the best birch fence a man can build."
The ephemeral nature of life is something you'll sure as hell learn from experience if you don't learn it from Frost first.

 

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