Brat Farrar (bratfarrar) wrote,
Brat Farrar

poem: Nothing Gold Can Stay

- Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

I think I've shared this poem before, but the end of summer is a good time to visit it again, with perhaps a bit more attention to sound and detail, following Stephen Fry's advice in The Ode Less Travelled. So--reading it aloud, here are a few things I notice, one from each line:

  1. In the first line, the emphasis falls on green and gold

  2. All the h's in the second line

  3. Lots of fairly broad e/ea sounds in third line

  4. The vowel sounds then contract, which fits with the meaning of the fourth line

  5. "Then leaf subsides to leaf" has baffled me for a while, but on this closer reread I think the first leaf is flower references in the second line, while the second leaf is just a plain old leaf--so it's talking about that period of transition when a flowering tree sheds its blossoms and the leaves come out and it looks just like any other tree

  6. No comment for this line, really--it's pretty straightforward, though one I quite like

  7. The iambs place the focus on "dawn", "down", and "day"; they also make the line sound like a downward staircase

  8. Unlike the previous seven lines, this one has only five syllables, lending it a feeling of finality

What do you see/hear?
Tags: poetry

Posts from This Journal “poetry” Tag

  • poem: Song of the Mad Prince

    - Walter de la Mare Who said, "Peacock Pie"? The old King to the sparrow: Who said, "Crops are ripe"? Rust to the harrow: Who…

  • Poem: September

    - Hilaire Belloc I, from a window where the Meuse is wide, Looked eastward out to the September night; The men that in the hopeless battle died…

  • Poem: Night and Noon Flower

    - Walter de la Mare Not any flower that blows But shining watch doth keep; Every swift changing chequered hour it knows Now to break forth in…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.