Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Fire and Ice, by Robert Frost

Some say the World will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

This is a short but amazing poem! If you think about it, it is most likely the world will end because of the forces of nature. The things that come to mind are fire and ice. You think of volcanoes, powerful eruptions, boiling lava. Or something like the Ice Age. Life would be destroyed.

You could however also see it in a different, more human way. You could say that this is how Robert Frost inteded it to be interpreted, linking fire and ice to desire. There is the fire of passion, the iciness of hate. These can bring a human doen, end his or her life.

Robert Frost mentions desire, linking it to the end of the world. It could be said that he does not only mean sequal desire, but desire for power, for money, for domination. These are the sort of things that can destroy human life. But he also mentions hate, saying that if the world was to end twice, ice would also do the job. It is possible that after passion, after power and domination, hate is the next step. Love can switch to hate in a minte, leaving behind an emptiness that is only filled by powerless rage.

On YouTube I found this song, using this poem as its lyrics. Although it sounds quite cheerful it is exactly how you would talk about the end of the world. Mockingly, sarcastically. Frost does it as well, when saying that for destruction 'ice is also great and would suffice.'

I found one of Frost's quotes somehow fascinating and in my mind it is linked to this poem. He said:
'And were an epitaph to be my story I'd have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world'
Once again he links the world and his own end to love and passion. A lover's quarrel is passionate and can afterwards turn into mutual hate. And somehow he believes to have such a quarrel with the world and he thinks it summons up his life.

Frost was an American writer, who was praised for his description of the country life in America. In his lifetime he received four Pulitzer Awards for Poetry. He published his first poem in 1894. In 1912 he moved near London, only to return to America at the beginning of World War I. Frost had a tragic life. He lost his father at the age of 11 and his mother only fifteen years later. He had to commit his sister to a mental hospital, as well as his daughter. He suffered from bouts of depression, as did his wife. Only two of their six children outlived them.

What are your thoughs on the poem?

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I saw your comment in my blog (universeandwords.blogspot.com) and I'd like to thank you for your nice comment. Indeed, we almost have the same blog title. ; ) and seems like we both love poetry too.