Bringing Robert Frost Home From Newfoundland

A man carried stacks of National Geographic magazines from his truck to a table in the Deer Lake Library. They dated back to the 1950s. One issue caught my eye. The face on the cover was not one I expected to see on a NG cover.

National Geographic

It was the April 1976 issue. Inside, unrelated to the boy’s face, was a feature on Robert Frost, which included excerpts from his poetry, matched with beautiful New England photographs. I began reading the feature on the spot and was encouraged to take it home.

This week I found time to read it. In case it’s been a while since you’ve dipped into Frost, I’d like to share a few of his words:

Oh, give us pleasure
in the flowers today;
And give us not to think
so far away
As the uncertain harvest;
keep us here
All simply in the springing
of the year.

Being November, the piece might more aptly read (with apologies to Robert Frost):

Oh, give us pleasure
in the frost today;
And give us not to think
so far away
As the uncertain crocus;
keep us here
All simply in the falling
of the year.

Or, being a writer, I might remind myself and my writing friends and students:

Oh, give us pleasure
in the flow of words today;
And give us not to think
so far away
As the uncertain kudos;
keep us here
All simply in the writing
of the thing.

How do Frost’s words relate to your life?

And . . . about that boy on the cover (photo by Linda Bartlett). His name is Paudie Boland of Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula. I wonder if he’s still there (he’d be 40 or thereabouts by now). I wonder if his grandfather’s farm is still in the family. Hmm. A writer could talk herself into a trip to Ireland with thoughts like these.

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Janet Barclay on November 6, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I hope he is one of those people who Google their own names so he can find your post and answer your questions!

  2. Kathy Stinson on November 6, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    That would be neat, wouldn't it?

  3. Paudie Boland on December 28, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I am Paudie Boland that appeared on the National Geographic in 1976.

    I don't live on the Dingle Pensula anymore but my Father still runs the family farm there. I live in Galway and frequently visit my roots in Kerry.

  4. kathystinson on December 28, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Paudie, what a treat to hear from you, and how wonderful that the farm is still in the family. Do you have a copy of that NG article? If not, I'd be happy to send it to you.

  5. Darrell Vines on August 19, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Wonderful find. My wife and I are planning to join a group tour of Ireland next month. In preparation, my wife, Mary, found the copy of National Geographic with Paudie's picture on it. I was so excited to see that others have been fascinated with the good story, good picture, and current conversation.

    On Thursday September 17 our bus will pass through Galway, on our way to Dingle.

    Paudie, if you are willing to send me an address, I will be delighted to correspond with you prior to our arrival in Ireland.


  6. Kathy on August 20, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Darrell, I envy you your trip to Ireland. It's a place I'd love to visit someday. I don't imagine Paudie Boland is still following this thread, but if he is and you manage to connect with him, please send him my best regards! And have a wonderful trip!

  7. Darrell Vines on September 28, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Wow! you were really helpful to make the 'visit' happen. We were scheduling a meeting in Galway but he had to leave town for an uncle's memorial service. We spoke on the phone and that was really satisfying. I intend to keep the conversation going and will give you credit for great encouragement.

    Ireland is a BIG and SMALL place. Go when you can spend time and visit the people. They are wonderful 'kin folk' for many of us.


  8. Kathy Stinson on September 28, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Darrell, I'm so pleased to hear that you were able to make the connection with Paudie Boland and that you expect to maintain it. Although you didn't get to meet in person, it sounds as if speaking with him was an important piece of your enjoyment of Ireland. Thanks for letting me know!

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