As some of you probably figured out, I like to write about poetry that is in synch with the seasons. This one is definitely a winter poem.
How countlessly they congregate
O’er our tumultuous snow,
Which flows in shapes as tall as trees
When wintry winds do blow!—
As if with keenness for our fate,
Our faltering few steps on
To white rest, and a place of rest
Invisible at dawn, —
And yet with neither love nor hate,
Those stars like some snow-white
Minerva’s snow-white marble eyes
Without the gift of sight.
I can relate to the imagery here. I love to walk at night after it has snowed. The stars seem brighter in the cold winter sky and the blanket of crystalline white creates a scene that is truly magical for me. But winter is also the symbolic time of death, and the second stanza certainly evokes that image. It is almost like the snow is a heavenly white funeral pall.
So keeping the imagery of winter and death in my mind, I thought about the rest of the poem and tried to grasp the symbolism of the stars. I think the key is the Roman goddess Minerva, who is the virgin goddess of music, poetry, wisdom, and magic. It appears that the stars are a metaphor for either love or artistic expression (possibly both) which, like the virgin goddess, is unattainable. I get the sense that someone is dying, and as he nears his death, he gazes at the distant stars, realizing he will never attain that for which he longed his whole life, be it artistic expression or unrequited love.
This poem is both sad and beautiful. While the imagery is gorgeous and full of wonder, there is a deep sadness below the surface, like the cold, hard earth below the soft white drifts of snow.
Filed under Literature
Tagged as art, books, death, goddess, love, magic, metaphor, Minerva, music, poems, poetry, poets, reading, Robert Frost, Roman, snow, stars, symbolism, winter
Essay about Nature in Robert Frost's Poems
1649 Words7 Pages
Under the stars of the sky, fifteen-year old Robert Frost explored the heavens through a telescope. He was seeking affirmation of the proverbial question that has plagued mankind for centuries—the proof and existence of God. While surveying the cosmos, Frost‘s interest was stirred, so he visited a library and obtained books that had illustrated star charts. Within these pages, his knowledge of the stars was edified and a poet was born. Frost‘s first poems were
―astronomical‖ and invoked a kinship of ―cosmology and theology‖ (Haas 255). As time unfolded, he realized that the cosmos was devoid of providing evidence of God. Similarly, in a short time span, Frost‘s faith in God became shattered because family members died of…show more content…
in Davenport 27). In the framework of poetic expression, he embraced three sentiments that a poem must speak to: the eye, the ear, and the heart (Frost qtd. in Newdick 298). At the apex of his assertions, Frost affirms that a poem ―runs a course of lucky events, and it ends in a clarification of life‖ (Frost qtd. in Davenport 27). On the other hand, critics thought his style of poetry ―was too much like talk‖ (Newdick 290). Frost regarded their admonition as praise; it was what he wanted to accomplish with his poetic style. In a moment of clarity, Frost finally realized why the rural life in New Hampshire had beckoned him every summer (Newdick 290). On the farm, he could satiate all his senses with real life experiences. As Frost experienced life on the farm, his sound of sense developed in his poems.
According to the New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, the sound of sense is the ―performance intermedium‖ in which verbal and sound art are not just mixed . . . but are actually fused.‖ In the poem ―Stopping by Woods on a Snowing Evening,‖ the horse ―gives his harness bells a shake‖ (9) and the sound of the bells shaking becomes the primary means of the horse expressing ―some mistake‖ (10). Poets desire to make each word essential so that the words ―partake of the nature of things‖ (―Onomatopoeia‖