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05 October 2010

Robert Frost as a poet of Nature

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.

-Robert Frost from ''The Road Not Taken''

Robert Frost (1874-1963) was the leading modern American poet of nature and rural life. He found beauty and meaning in commonplace objects, such as a drooping birch tree and an old stone wall, and drew universal significance from the experiences of a farmer or a country boy. Most of his poems have a New England setting and deal with the theme of man's relationship to nature.

The influence of nature in Robert Frost's works creates a palette to paint a picture filled with symbolism for the reader to interpret. In the analysis of Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken, Tree At My Window, Two Trumps In The Mud Time and Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening we can pick out specific examples to illustrate Frost's overall use of nature.

In the first stanza of Robert Frost's Stopping by the Woods on A Snowy Evening we find the speaker reflecting on the beauty of a wooded area with snow falling.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

You can feel the speakers awe and reflective peace when looking into the woods that night. He doesn't know the owner of the land but is still drawn to the beauty of the scene. Nature poet Robert Frost gives a scene that is taken into the reader and digested for a time in the speaker's mind. It shows us that it is all right to take a minute out of a hurried hour and reflect upon what is around you, whether it is a snowy wood or a quite room. The extreme fascination and accute love to the nature makes him a great poet of nature.

The reader can tell that Frost does love water. He also likes the power of it and expressing to through nature. He also brings up other points of nature, but it always has water. The water is always breaking down cliffs, beaches and boulders. Frost's poems are similar but are also very different, but they all have nature in them.

One point of view on which almost all the critics agree is Robert Frost’s minute observation and accurate description of the different aspects of nature in his poems. Schneider says: The descriptive power of Mr. Frost is to me the most wonderful thing in his poetry. A snowfall, a spring thaw, a bending tree, a valley mist, a brook, these are brought into the experience of the reader.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,

-From Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

These lines depict not only the beauty and the mystery of the snow filled woods which hold the poet almost spell-bound but also describe the helplessness of the poet who has no time because of his social commitments. Thus the beauty of Nature and obligations of human life are treated by Frost as two aspects of poet’s one whole experience in these lines.
Although Frost's verse is lyrical, he is often considered a dramatic poet. One of his most admired poems, "The Mending Wall", describes the conflict that arises between the poem's narrator and his neighbor over rebuilding a wall that separates their farms. The neighbor holds the traditional opinion that "Good fences make good neighbors," but the narrator believes that walls are unnecessary and unnatural between people who should trust each other.
During his lifetime, Frost was the American equivalent of a poet laureate. In 1950, the United States Senate passed a resolution in honor of his 75th birthday, stating that his poems "have helped to guide American thought with humor and wisdom." At the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961, Frost read his poem, "The Gift Outright", about America's gaining of independence through its devotion to the land.Frost also composed "Dedication", but he was unable to deliver it. In 1962, President Kennedy presented Frost with the Congressional Medal. Frost's own love of the soil, his quiet humor, and his simple but moving language made him one of the most respected poets of his generation.

Nature is a dominant subject in the poetry of Robert Frost. In the epitaph that Robert Frost proposed for himself, he said that he had “a lover of quarrel with the world,” this lover’s quarrel is Frost’s poetic subject, and throughout his poetry there are evidences of this view of man’s existence in the natural world. His attitude towards Nature is one of armed and amicable true and mutual respect. He recognizes and insists upon the boundaries which exist between individual man and the forces of Nature.“There is almost nothing of the mystic in Frost. He does not seek in Nature either a sense of oneness with all created things or union with God. There is nothing Platonic in his view of life, because it is a foreshadowing of something else.”

Robert Frost unlike William Wordsworth sees no pervading spirit in the natural impersonal and unfeeling. Though Nature watches man, she takes no account of him. Robert Frost treats Nature both as a comfort and menace. As a critic says, “Frost does not formulate a theory of Nature or of man’s relationship with Nature. However, it seems that Frost believes that man should live in harmony with Nature and not go against Nature or natural process.” 


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