Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
to say that for destruction ice
is also great
and would suffice.
Yesterday, the girls and I were going around town shopping and every time we got back in the pickup, the fog was a little bit thicker. As we passed the wooded walking trail that surrounds the field station, I quoted the Carl Sandburg poem, "Fog," and asked Sarah if she knew who wrote it. I gave her the hint that he was a Poet Laureate of the United States. Now, I'm not so 'academic' to think that everyone should know all the poet laureates of the US, or that everyone should remember poetry they learned in grade school, but it saddened me when she said it didn't matter to her to know about that stuff. (I'm not picking on you Sarah, promise!). I love it when information, poetry, bits of songs, just pop up from my memory in unexpected places. It's not that you have to memorize whole poems, or recite the lists of Poet Laureates or have watched the entire opera, but I believe that people should be culturally literate. And possibly my kids are a little bit, since they can sing songs from more Broadway musicals than anyone else I know. There are so many references in the news, in comic strips, in advertising--everywhere, really, to classical literature, art, music and poetry. And I think many people miss the connection. I must confess I don't 'get' the point when people refer to modern tv shows or music, but in my defense, have these stood the test of time to become classics?
What do you think? Do you think it's important to 'get' these references? Does it matter people stop remembering what Robert Frost wrote? Or catch on to Bugs Bunny and Alfalfa (Little Rascals) references to "The Barber of Seville?"