“Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom” – Robert Frost Essay Danielle Sims
Robert Frost was a poet who wrote traditional poetry that opposed the free verse styles and “no rules” system of the modernist poets who wrote at the same time in the early 1900s. His poetry is deceptively simple, commonly using colloquial language which flows just as naturally as speech. Whilst Frost is a poet who seems to be simplistic in his writing styles, his rhyming schemes are surprisingly sophisticated, often using iambic pentameter or blank verse. This, along with the use of colloquial language amounts to poetry which is intricately formed and subtly beautiful; often allowing the meaning to be overlooked. Frost is renowned for his descriptive use of nature, simplistic and timeless; to metaphorically imitate difficult aspects of life, in an era which was becoming increasingly complex. In that sense, we, as readers, can initially appreciate the understated beauty of his cleverly used language, and are rewarded with beautiful imagery. However, when we consider the concepts which are explored in a poem by Robert Frost, we are then rewarded with knowledge, insight and, essentially; wisdom. When reading Frost’s poetry, we are delighted by the exquisite use of imagery and assonance, and then rewarded with wisdom which is conveyed through metaphors. However, readers are not the only ones who are delighted or gain wisdom; and I believe that as a poet, Robert Frost would have taken his wisdom (often harsh) and turned it into something more delightful through his poetry. Delight can be defined as something that gives great pleasure or enjoyment and this delight can come through the use of imagery, assonance and colloquial language. A poem by Robert Frost that uses all of these conventions and could certainly be considered delightful is “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”. The title itself already paints a serene image in our mind, one which is soft and delicate. Assonance is used, allowing more depth to the already enticing imagery. “The only other sound’s the sweep/Of easy wind and downy flake”. Here assonance and alliteration is used so that we can see and hear the quiet serenity of the wood. “To watch his woods fill up with snow”. The idea of watching a wood fill up with snow is imagery that creates a dreamy atmosphere, and is only amplified by the repetition of the last to lines “And miles to go before I sleep/And miles to go before I sleep”. This imagery is incredibly intricate, yet subtle and simple. It can be appreciated by all, and certainly grants the readers with enjoyment and pleasure; it is absolutely delightful. Robert Frost’s poetry is certainly delightful; however it was not intended to be purely aesthetic. The true meaning of Frost’s poetry can only be uncovered once we take the time to consider the different layers of meaning. Whilst much of his poetry is elaborate and beautiful, it often alludes to concepts which are aphoristic. This aphorism is often mistaken as bleak, sad or depressing; however Frost was a realist who put things in a blunt manner: a stoic shrug. When re-reading “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”, we are able to go past the literal meaning of the poem and delve deeper. The poem is no longer about a man riding his horse through a wood and stopping to watch it fill with snow; but is now about the man’s yearning to die at a point in his life where he is content, but not being able to fulfil that yearning because of the people in his life and the commitments he owes to them. “My little horse must think it queer/ To stop without a farmhouse near” “… gives his harness bells a shake/ To ask if there is some mistake”. In a metaphorical sense, the horse may represent a few things. Firstly, the horse may be representative of a person’s common sense. The speaker knows that he should not be stopping by the woods, as they do not belong to him and it is “The darkest evening of the year” in winter. This...
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