Brat Farrar (bratfarrar) wrote,
Brat Farrar
bratfarrar

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
Subscribe

Posts from This Journal “poetry” Tag

  • poem: Love From the North

    - Christina Rossetti I had a love in soft south land, Beloved through April far in May; He waited on my lightest breath, And never dared to say me…

  • poem: Dog Dreaming

    - W.S. Merwin The paws twitch in a place of chasing Where the whimper of this seeming-gentle creature Rings out terrible, chasing tigers. The…

  • poem: Dust of Snow

    - Robert Frost The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    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.
  • 2 comments