Poetry of Robert Frost
Robert Frost was a modern poet of intelligence and versatility. He went back and forth between careers before becoming a successful writer. Frost explored working as a teacher, cobbler, newspaper editor, and farmer. Things for Robert Frost weren’t always easy: “After the death of his father from tuberculosis when Frost was eleven years old, he moved with his mother and sister, Jeanie, who was two years younger, to Lawrence, Massachusetts”(“Robert Frost”).His mother then moved Frost and his family to Massachusetts. Later in life Frost married his high school sweetheart, and had several children. Down the road Frost also lost his older sister, his wife, and three of his children, one to suicide. Robert Frost as a man has been through a lot but this is what also makes frost a good writer. Frost saw that life is ever changing, short, and tooto often unappreciated which he beautifully sums up in his poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay”.
In the first line, Robert Frost puts meaning into just how much life changes “Nature’s first green is gold”. Green represents something new, gold represents “Maturation that only last a few days”(Freeman 130). Frost demonstrates in the first stanza his fascination for the theme of ever changing life. Nature finds rebirth in new green: “In the cultures of the west the color green is associated with natural growth and change, particularly the early stages of natural growth and change”(Freeman, 130), to being mature. Frost explores the fact that the beauty in everything fades as it ages. This new green takes the ravage of time in his fourth stanza “But only so an hour.”(4) After the initial stages of early growth, the life of the plant becomes mature, but less beautiful. This does not mean that it’s ending but that with time it becomes less beautiful. Frost also finds in the ravages of time further evidence of life’s ever changing qualities. In the Fourth stanza he writes: “But only so an hour./So dawn goes down to day.”(4 &7). In these stanzas frost is not talking about an end but of a period of time. In dawn there are many colors one of which is gold, also representing the change in time. Freeman states that, “the flower seems to be the golden bud’s natural product [but in time] the flower ‘subsides’ (Freeman 130) .In addition an hour also represents the change of life over time. Sixty minutes can be broken down into five times twelve. “Twelve is a symbol of cosmic order. It also represents of space and time. Time is normally measured in two groups of 12 hours.”(Meaning of Numbers). These all depict change, whether it is in life or in time.
Equally as important is the symbolism used in Frost poems to depict just how short life is. In his seconds stanza of “Nothing Gold Can Stay” Robert Frost writes “Her hardest hue to hold.”(2) Just within this stanzas’ Frost interprets life as just a moment. Richard Cureton states that Frost related to the meaning of loss with, “Most critics claim  it’s message of inevitable loss of “first fruits”, it’s poignant ironies and it’s dense linguistic patterning that connecting meaning into tight relationships” (Cureton, 38).In that moment, we can appreciate the meaning of “Natures first green” (1). However, it can be lost just as quickly. Natures first green being pure in nature along with the word “Hue”(2) which in art represents a pure color, something without Shade or tint. Purity and innocenceinnocent in life is always lost. Which would explain why In Frost‘s poem “Her”(2) representing nature which is trying to “hold”(2) onto this purity. You hold things with your hand which symbolizes power, in the bible it is stated that “Their inhabitants were short of hand, they were dismayed and put to shame” (Isaiah 37:27) Being short of hand in this means short of power. Power is also something that is short lived; from the King Tut in Egypt, to Princess Diana in England. BothBo h had short lives and only reigned with their power of rule for a short while. Along with loss of purity, Frost also lets on to the permanent loss of innocence when he speaks of “Eden”(6). Eden representing the “ biblical garden of Eden where Adam and Eve permanently lost their innocent” ( Genesis 14) and werewhere forced out of the garden forever. Frost more than anybody can understand and relate the feeling of losing precious life, due to the death of his beloved wife “Elinor Miriam White  who was a major inspiration until her death in 1938” (Robert Frost). In the blink of an eye everything he ever cherished, just like the nature in the poem, came to an end.
In addition to the constantly changing quality and transience of time Frost managed to realize nature’s mundane details that are often unappreciated and sometimes taken for granted. Robert Frost attention to these details in “Nothing Gold Can Stay” is how he see’s nature: “Then leaf subsides to leaf.”(5). The literary symbolism for leaves in Michael Ferber’s symbolic dictionary refer to leaves as “vast” (271). Something with this much density normally goes unseen. Not a single human being can sit and admire each and every single shape and color of a thousand leaves on one single tree. Leaves having multiple colors such as: orange, brown, green, red, and even purple. Frosts consciously paired all these colors, which represent the demand for attention and everything royal in nature an earth. Earth being used and dried up by human greed and need for resources. Frost saw the unappreciative nature of man and composed that feeling into his poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” with Stanza six “ So Eden sank to grief”. Grief is a fleeting feeling that only last for some time. Even in the 1800’s a family would wear black after a death only for a year. A year is not forever. Even the color black which they wore for mourning represents the detachment of something. Robert Frost was interpreting through his symbolism that the most beautiful things in nature and in life are rarely appreciated until they dissipate. We as humans don’t forget, but the feelings that we feel do subside and vanish. Frost recognized this along with the shortness and changes in life. Frost then persisted to make a poem out of not only in his own life, but in that of what he saw in nature as well .
Roberts Frost experience in life such as, the loss of his family and the change in his career, helped him see the beauty of nature in a different light. The interpretation of his symbolism in “Nothing Gold Can Stay” can leave a reader guessing the meaning from a narrow to a vast expanse. His skills at interpretation of theme and symbolic meaning are perfectly honed in his poem as well. Not only did Frost perfectly express the always changing, shortness, and over looked beauty in life with his poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay”. He also framed his poem form beginning to end with “Two repetitive patterns [that] interact to lend a strong frame”(freeman 130). These are the marks of a skilled and intelligent writer. Any student reading Robert Frost work can take away his interest and love in nature. Which is where Frost saw the opportunity to write about life and it’s ever changing, short, and to often unappreciated beauty with the creation of “Nothing Gold Can Stay”.
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Robert Frost was a modern poet of intelligence and versatility. He went back and forth between careers before becoming a successful writer. Frost explored working as a teacher, cobbler, newspaper […]