In 1918, Robert Frost inscribed a new poem, “War Thoughts at Home,” in a copy of North of Boston, his second book. In the eighty-eight years since, the poem never quite resurfaced—until now. Published here for the first time, “War Thoughts at Home” embodies the stories of two great friends in Frost’s life. The first was Edward Thomas—who died in the trenches during World War I—and the poem narrates Frost’s ambivalence about the war that claimed Thomas’s life. The story of the other friend picks up where the first leaves off. It is the story of a new beginning for Frost in his friendship with Frederic G. Melcher, a rising star in the book trade, and it was Melcher who preserved this lost passage of Frost’s poetic thoughts about the war. By placing the stories of these two friends side by side, we may begin to put this lost poem in context.
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