I was on line to be a Kappa Sweetheart. Through the early 90s, Black fraternities would often have auxiliary organizations for young women who had not yet earned enough credit hours to pledge a sorority. The auxiliary was really a social network of freshmen, sometimes sophomores, that was supposed to support the members of the fraternity in community service projects. Members are initiated into the organization in the same way as one who pledges a sorority—from interview to crossing.
In my interview I had the audacity to admit I “liked” poetry, earning my line name, Justice—you know, like Poetic Justice—and the requirement to memorize and recite a poem during each of our pledging sessions.
The first poem I recited was the first one I’d ever memorized: “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” (Well, excluding the recitations we did for every Christian holiday and a special one in June we called “Children’s Day”).
Now I love(d) me some Robert Frost. But I really liked the poem because of the movie, The Outsiders based on the young adult novel by S.E. Hinton.
**[SCENE SPOILER AHEAD]**
Member of the Greasers gang, Pony Boy, recites the poem for his homeboy Johnny who, as fate would have it, has to remind Pony Boy to “stay gold” as he dies from burns sustained while saving kids from a burning building.
**[SCENE SPOILER OVER]**
Yes, my poetry has deep roots like that. Hah.
It’s a poem I still love, even after many failed imitations throughout sixth grade and, later, reciting it mindlessly in front of Rob and Lincoln’s fireplace over and over (and over) again.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Robert Frost (1874-1963)
Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.