Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Robert Frost - Poet and Poetry Study

One of the poets that Sophia and Olivia learned about this year is Robert Frost. Frost was born on March 26, 1874 and died on January 29, 1963; and was an American poet. He was highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and command of American colloquial speech.

Frost’s work frequently reflected rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex philosophical and social themes. Because he was one of the most popular and respected American poets of his generation, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry.

Sophia and Olivia listened to me read six different poems that Frost wrote throughout his life. Their thoughts about the poems are noted below each poem.

House Fear

Always – I tell you this they learned –
Always at night when they returned
To the lonely house from far away
To lamps unlighted and fire gone gray,
They learned to rattle the lock and key
To give whatever might chance to be
Warning and time to be off in flight:
And preferring the out- to the in-door night,
They learned to leave the house-door wide
Until they had lit the lamp inside.

Sophia said that it makes sense, but “I didn’t really like it.”

Olivia thought it was interesting because “…you would know if anything would leave the house.”


Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Sophia said, “I like that one more. It would gave me a fright the way the crow shook down the snow.”

Olivia said, “If you didn’t know the crow was there or didn’t see it, and snow landed on you, it would be scary.”


Spring Pools

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them, soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.

The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods—
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

Sophia thought, “It was interesting. Sometimes you just want a season to slow down so you can enjoy it more. So, that’s why I liked that one.”

Olivia liked it because it was about nature. She could picture “the river and the trees and the woods.”


The Impulse

It was too lonely for her there,
And too wild,
And since there were but two of them,
And no child,

And work was little in the house,
She was free,
And followed where he furrowed field,
Or felled tree.

She rested on a log and tossed
The fresh chips,
With a song only to herself
On her lips.

And once she went to break a bough
Of black alder.
She strayed so far she scarcely heard
When he called her –

And didn't answer – didn't speak –
Or return.
She stood, and then she ran and hid
In the fern.

He never found her, though he looked
And he asked at her mother's house
Was she there.

Sudden and swift and light as that
The ties gave,
And he learned of finalities
Besides the grave.

Sophia thought it was terrible and “not to my liking. It’s sad because he never found her.”

Olivia said it was horrible, dismal, and sad. “It’s sad because he never found his beloved wife!”


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Sophia thought “I liked that one. It shows you about life. Sometimes in life you need to make a decision and you won’t know if it is right or wrong, and you can’t go back.”

Olivia thought “It was interesting, but I’m not sure I liked it.”


The Sound of the Trees

I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.

Sophia “I liked it because it reminds me of the trees swaying on a windy day. It reminds me that I like trees in general. I just liked the poem.”

Olivia thought it was interesting because it talked about the trees. She envisioned pine trees as the poem was read to her.



What Remains Now said...

A reminder to me to make poetry more a part of my life. I enjoyed reading the girls' impressions.

JennyPennyPoppy said...

Thanks for posting all of these great poems. Dust of Snow is such a favourite one of mine that I have a copy of it pinned on my cubicle wall at work :)

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the poems! I have not read The Impulse. It made me sad too!