Sunday, 2 September 2012

Introducing: Robert Frost's poetry

Robert Frost is one of my favourite poets. The first poetry book I ever bought willingly was his collected works. What is great about Frost is that many of his poems are relatively short, only a couple of lines. That just makes it so much easier to read and think about them, without having to look over 5 or 6 stanzas. On the other hand he has a couple of poems that seem to go on forever. Below are some of my favorites:

'Devotion' by Robert Frost

The heart can think of no devotionGreater than being shore to the ocean--Holding the curve of one position,Counting an endless repetition.
I adore this poem. It is so short and precise. It only uses one image to convey the essence of devotion. Devotion is not necessarily part of love and is not always returned. You can be devoted to someone who doesn't deserve it, which is the premise for many a tragic novel. The idea of the shore and the ocean is the best image to portray every kind of devotion. The ocean retreats and crashes into the shore, sometimes hacking away at the sand, yet the shore is always there. In the same ways, true devotion means constantly being there to catch the other when he falls.

Dust in the Eyes by Robert Frost

If, as they say, some dust thrown in my eyes
Will keep my talk from getting overwise,
I'm not the one for putting off the proof.
Let it be overwhelming, off a roof
And round a corner, blizzard snow for dust,
And blind me to a standstill if it must.

I really like this poem because I think it has a very positive and encouraging message. Sometimes it is very good to meet an obstacle to prevent you from becoming cocky or 'overwise', as Frost puts it. I think that does happen quite a lot, I also see it in myself. When life is good and easy for a while, I feel as if that is due to the fact that I have "mastered" life. I think learning to deal with a disadvantage and not complain as soon as something goes wrong is a very good thing. So I think this is quite an inspirational poem. 

The Door in the Dark by Robert Frost

In going from room to room in the dark,
I reached out blindly to save my face,
But neglected, however lightly, to lace
My fingers and close my arms in an arc.
A slim door got in past my guard,
And hit me a blow in the head so hard
I had my native simile jarred.
So people and things don't pair any more
With what they used to pair with before.

This happens to me quite a lot, it's the reason I have a scar on my forehead, and I love it that someone has written a poem about it. Who doesn't go walking about in the dark, stretching out their hands and then still missing something vital? And I think describing something as normal and everyday as this in poetry takes away the name poetry has for being stuffy and too official. Everyone can relate and reading this poem can trigger a great conversation about embarrassing things that have happened to everyone else.

So, does Frost's poetry sound like something you'd enjoy?


  1. I adore Frost's work, but I had actually never read the poems you quoted now. So thanks!