“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” (Frost 697). Robert Frost was a unique writer of the twentieth century. In his poems “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, “Birches”, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, “Fire and Ice”, “Mending Wall”, and “After Apple-picking”. Robert Frost explores the theme of nature and the human emotion love. Robert Frost is considered a humanist and is one of the most well-known American poets. Robert Frost died in 1963, at the age of eighty-eight. However his poetry is still legendary. Frost earned the Pulitzer Prize a record four times. Although Frost never graduated from college, more than forty colleges and universities have presented him with honorary degrees. Frost also was asked to speak at the inauguration of the young President-elect, John F. Kennedy (Robert Frost: Biography). Frost cannot be defined into one category, or era but the recurring themes in his poems are nature and love.
“In the typical spring poems like, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, dawn goes down, or falls, to day, reminding us in its beauty mainly of its transience” (Baym 717). Nothing Gold Can Stay is a beautiful poem about nature. The poem goes into much detail about the changing colors and seasons. However, this poem can be seen to go into many different directions, the theme of nature is very much the strongest theme in this poem. The poem feels like it is about spring because of the references to “leaf”, “hue”, “dawn” and “day”. It feels like the first flowers are coming back into bloom after a very harsh winter. The imagery is very strong and the transformation into spring is clearly evident. Little, and Bloom describe how imagery is used to describe the natural process.
One way to explain the poem’s imagery is to describe the actual process of budding and leafing that occurs in the spring. For some plants, flowers appear before the leaves. But, for other plants, early leaves are such a light shade of green that they appear as yellow before turning a darker green as spring and summer progress. Frost is describing natural processes, and as he so often does in his poetry, he uses the observation of natural processes as a starting point for commenting on the state or condition of life itself (183). This poem has however seen a lot of criticism, all about the nature of course, but the debate has been about what exactly Frost was trying to achieve through the poem itself. Harris explains what some critics have said about Nothing Gold Can Stay: Of course, caught the notice of critics and been the object of several explications. For example, John David Sweeney and James Lindroth note that Nothing Gold Can Stay deals with the inexorable passing of beautiful things, and that ‘the theme of death and change is commonly used by poets’. John Robert Doyle adds that ‘since the transitoriness of life is a face...the significant thing is to accept the moment before it passes’. Charles Anderson, in contrast, feels that ‘what remains after the gold vanishes is not so bad’ and is only ‘manqué by comparison wit the gold of newly minted creation’, while John Lynen suggests that ‘the subject is not just the passing of a beautiful sight but the corruption which seems to be necessary part of maturing (17). There is a general consensus among the critics that this is indeed a nature poem with its themes of life and death.
Another poem that can also be considered a nature poem because of it’s strong imagery is Birches. The poem is written in a conversational language, where the speaker refers to phrases like “I like to think” or “But I was going to say”. “Frost early began his endeavor to make his style approximate as closely as possible to the style of conversation, and this endeavor has added to his reputation: it has helped to make him seem “natural” (Bloom 37). The poem begins with imagery and it is vivid through the story. There are lines where auditory and visual images come...
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