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Urban Legend Series

As UM students rush to their classes in and around the Memorial Building, many notice what is believed to be the gravestone of the famous American poet, Robert Frost, located on the grassy area behind the bathrooms in the middle of the building.
“Sometimes I hear groans when I’m inside of the bathrooms at Memorial,” freshman Jose Salgado said. “Then I think of that gravestone outside and I run out of there quick.”
“I see that thing all the time, and it gives me chills up and down my spine,” Salgado said.
In his poem, “In a Disused Graveyard,” Frost seems to be speaking directly to UM students who stop to marvel at what is often believed to be his gravestone:

“The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never anymore the dead.
The verses in it say and say:
“The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay.”
So sure of death the marbles rhyme,
Yet can’t help marking all the time
How no one dead will seem to come.
What is it men are shrinking from?
It would be easy to be clever
And tell the stones: Men hate to die
And have stopped dying now forever.
I think they would believe the lie.”
Although Salgado’s account is convincing, the Miami Hurricane has recently uncovered that Robert Frost was actually a visiting English professor at UM in 1944. He also gave a noted lecture at UM in 1935, the same year he rented a house in the Grove. Five years later, Frost bought five acres of land in South Miami.
Frost earned the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry a record-setting four times [1924, 1931, 1937, 1943], and he was the first poet to read at a presidential inauguration [JFK, 1961]. He is regarded as one of the most respected poets of all time.
The “gravestone” outside of Memorial is actually a rock dedicated in his honor by the Winter Institute of Literature. Frost died in Boston on Jan. 29, 1963. His ashes are currently in the Frost family plot in Old Bennington, VT.
The English Department refused comment on the issue.
Some students aren’t surprised that there is no truth to the urban legend.
“I remember jogging by that thing in the morning and I never thought twice about it,” Lacey Hickle, a former UM student, said. “There was no epitaph, no R.I.P. It was just his name chiseled into a jagged rock.”
However, despite the evidence, some are still convinced that Frost is buried under the Memorial Building.
“I know he’s there,” Salgado said. “He’s groaning because he didn’t want to be buried by the bathrooms – he wanted to be buried by the Writing Center.”
The Miami Hurricane will continue to investigate popular urban legends at UM through the month of February.

For suggestions on urban legends to be researched, please contact Jorge Arauz, News Editor, at xxarauzxx@yahoo.com.

February 14, 2003

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.