Robert Lee Frost is one of greatest poets of the twentieth century. He was born in
San Francisco in the . He has won the Pulitzer Prize
for poetry several times. He died in the year 1963. Frost wrote his poems in a
style in which simplicity and charm combined.
It has been said that “he turned the living speech of men and women into
poetry.” Many of his poems take the form of dramatic monologues or
dialogues. Love of Nature, descriptive
realism, an underlying philosophy and an imagery in which fact and fancy
combined are the basic qualities of Frost’s poetry. He believes that “poems
begin in delight and end in wisdom”. This principle is true of his poetry. All
these qualities can be seen in Frost’s well-known poem Birches. It is nostalgic poem. It recalls one of the
favourite activities of rural USA New England
children – climbing to the top of the birch trees and swinging to the ground.
Robert Frost himself was once a swinger of birches. He wants to be a swinger
again so that he may go up to heaven and escape from all the sorrows and
troubles of earthly life. But he wants
to come back, for the earth is the right place to live in. The poem, thus, ends
in wisdom – on a philosophic note.
2. Robert Frost says that when he sees birches bend to left and right in the woods, he wants to imagine that a boy has been swinging them. But Frost knows that swinging does not bend them down to stay. The truth is that ice storms make these birches bend to left and right. During the winter season, it is snowing for months together and ice id deposited on the branches and slowly the branches go down and after that they never straighten up. On a sunny winter morning, when the breeze blows, the branches shake and the ice is cracked and melted down in the hot rays of the sun. Rainbow colours are appeared when the snow is falling down like a stream in the sunlight. The poet says that it is like the inner dome of heaven has fallen. When the winter is over, all the branches of the birch tree have fallen down and the poet compares it to the girls who stand on hands and knees to dry their hair in the sun. They throw their hair before them over their heads.
3. The poet wants to fly on the wings of imagination. He prefers to have a country boy bend the birches when he went out and in to fetch the cows. He is far from city life and he has no playmates. He neither knows any games. So he invented a game for himself. He can play the game alone and throughout the year. It is the swinging of the birches. So he becomes an expert in the art of swinging. He climbs to the top branches as careful as filling a cup up to the brim and even above the brim. All the birches in the woods are, thus, bend to left and right. In his boyhood days the poet himself was a swinger of the birches. No he “falls upon the thorns of life”. He is tired of life because” life is like a pathless wood “for him. Problems and difficulties are compared to cobwebs, twigs and the world is in spiritual darkness. Instead of commiting suicide or any other crime, he dreams of going back to his boyhood days and becomes a swinger of birches once again.
He goes to heaven by climbing to the top branches and get spiritual help from God and comes back home to the earth and begins a new life with spiritual energy from heaven. Earth is the right place for love and life. Through this poem Birches, Frost teaches a philosophy of life. Frost says that occasionally we should leave this sorrowful world and,
like the swinger of birches, go up towards heaven. After remaining in the spiritual world for a while, we should come down refreshed to face the painful problems of life again. This is the way to be happy in this world.
Essay: Show how the poem Birches “begins in delight and ends in wisdom”
Annotate the following:
1. I like to think some boy’s been swinging them
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
Ice storms do that.
2. You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years……..their heads to dry in the sun.
3. And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where……having lashed across it open.