Mistakes made by the selves we had to be

white,photography,arms crossed

Do you have hope for the future? someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.

Yes, and even for the past, he replied, that it will turn out to have been all right for what it was, something we can accept, mistakes made by the selves we had to be, not able to be, perhaps, what we wished, or what looking back half the time it seems we could so easily have been, or ought…

The future, yes, and even for the past, that it will become something we can bear.

And I too, and my children, so I hope, will recall as not too heavy the tug of those albatrosses I sadly placed upon their tender necks.

Hope for the past, yes, old Frost, your words provide that courage, and it brings strange peace that itself passes into past, easier to bear because you said it, rather casually, as snow went on falling in Vermont years ago.

~ David Ray, “Thanks, Robert Frost.”


David Ray, 82, was born in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Ray comes from a broken home that was thrown into upheaval when his father left the family by hopping on the back of a watermelon truck headed to California. After his mother’s next failed marriage ended in the suicide of Ray’s stepfather, he and his sister Mary Ellen were placed into foster care—a system that wasn’t kind to young children in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Ray’s classic “Mulberries of Mingo” steeps from memories of he and his sister being thrown out of a foster families home at dinner time – to fend for themselves eating the mulberries from a neighbor’s tree. The years that followed were dark and tragic as he and his sister were separated to face their separate nightmares of abuse. He is a distinguished award winner, and has lectured and read at over 100 Universities in England, Canada and the U.S. Graduating from the University of Chicago, BA, MA. Ray’s poetry varies from short, three to four lines pieces, to longer 30 lines poems. His work is also often autobiographical, providing unique context and insight to scenes of childhood, love, fear, sex, and travel. “Communication is important to him, and he has the courage, working with a genre in which simplicity is suspect, to say plainly what he means.” He and his wife, poet and essayist Judy Ray, live in Tucson, Arizona.

Studs Terkel: David Ray’s poetry has always been radiant even though personal tragedy has suffused it.”



  1. bildungsroman14 says:

    Dear Mr. Kanigan:
    Your post is a lovely and it rings true to my heart for a year that I have been living someone’s dream, all the while being worried over pleasing my bosses at work that I rather forgot to hope for the future. The burden became so heavy that it has been unbearable. Thank you for the reminder to stay in peace. Thank you for writing.
    Bildungsroman14 (Christina)


  2. This brought tears to my eyes…that the past reconciled, the future promising (or at worst bearable)….Heading up to a big b’day this is echoing in my head….May be the fodder for my next post. You really do inspire.


  3. I, too, loved this DK. Though I do my best to live my life well, there are moments I regret. Like Mimi, I’m hard upon a big birthday and the event has elicited lots of reflection. Ray is right, Frost’s words offer a “strange peace,” as do his….


  4. What an inspirational quote and story, David!


  5. Reblogged this on Quote Bard and commented:


  6. Okay. Another reason for me to move to Tucson.


  7. ‘The future, yes, and even for the past, that it will become something we can bear.’ – perfectly said.


  8. It is humbling when one realizes that those that hold the greatest gift to help the hurting are those that have been hurt.


  9. This evokes empathy for others and myself; I believe we all do the best we can with what we have.


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