Saturday, 20 of January of 2018

Robert Frost – The Oven Bird

(1874-1963) Frost’s use of nature is the single most misunderstood element of his poetry. Frost said over and over, “I am not a nature poet. There is almost always a person in my poems.”

“Spring Pools” and “A Winter Eden” are two rare exceptions to this rule, although both poems embody the idea of perfection – the spring pools “almost without defect” and the snow scene described as “paradise.” Nature does not idealize – that is the work of man, so perhaps there is a person there after all.

Most of Frost’s poems use nature imagery. His grasp and understanding of natural fact is well recognized. However Frost is not trying to tell us how nature works. His poems are about human psychology. Rural scenes and landscapes, homely farmers, and the natural world are used to illustrate a psychological struggle with everyday experience met with courage, will and purpose in the context of Frost’s life and personal psychology.

His attitude is stoical, honest and accepting.

Frost uses nature as a background. He usually begins a poem with an observation of something in nature and then moves toward a connection to some human situation or concern. Frost is neither a transcendentalist nor a pantheist.  From: Frost and Nature 


The Oven Bird

There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and as for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal fall is past
when pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
and comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.


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