Robert Francis was born in Upland, Pennsylvania, and studied at Harvard. Although he taught at workshops and lectured at universities across the United States, he lived for over sixty years in the same house near Amherst, Massachusetts. His poems are often charmingly whimsical, presenting conundrums and mysteries with a light, lyrical touch. Robert Frost, an important influence on the poet, said that Francis was “of all the great neglected poets, the greatest.”
More By This Poet
The American eagle is not aware he is
the American eagle. He is never tempted
to look modest.
When orators advertise the American eagle’s
virtues, the American eagle is not listening.
This is his virtue.
He is somewhere else, he is mountains away
but even if he...
Part for the Whole
When others run to windows or out of doors
To catch the sunset whole, he is content
With any segment anywhere he sits.
From segment, fragment, he can reconstruct
The whole, prefers to reconstruct the whole,
As if to say, I see more seeing less.