Shadows in the Yellow Wood: The Dark Side of Rober Frost's Poetry

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Shadows in the Yellow Wood: The Dark Side of Robert Frost’s Poetry Robert Frost is one of the most widely-read and recognized poets of the twentieth century, if not all time. If his name is mentioned, it is usually followed by a reference to two roads diverged in a yellow wood and taking the one less traveled by. But lurking in the shadows of the yellow wood of Frost’s poetry are much deeper meanings than are immediately apparent. As the modern poet Billy Collins says in his “Introduction to Poetry”, in order to find the true meaning of a poem we must “…hold it up to the light/ like a color slide” instead of “…beating it with a hose/ to find out what it really means” (1-16). When Frost’s poems are held up to the light, it is revealed…show more content…
Shadows in the Yellow Wood: The Dark Side of Robert Frost’s Poetry Robert Frost is one of the most widely-read and recognized poets of the twentieth century, if not all time. If his name is mentioned, it is usually followed by a reference to two roads diverged in a yellow wood and taking the one less traveled by. But lurking in the shadows of the yellow wood of Frost’s poetry are much deeper meanings than are immediately apparent. As the modern poet Billy Collins says in his “Introduction to Poetry”, in order to find the true meaning of a poem we must “…hold it up to the light/ like a color slide” instead of “…beating it with a hose/ to find out what it really means” (1-16). When Frost’s poems are held up to the light, it is revealed that they contain the very themes of existence, themes which happen to be very dark indeed. Robert Frost uses simple language and images from nature in his poetry to explore the dark realities of life: destruction, humanity’s thirst for truth, and the temptation to submit to evil. Throughout his poems, Frost explores the inevitability of destruction. It is a fact of life that all things end. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, in which he uses the natural images of fading dawn and turning leaves to convey the fleeting beauty of life: Then leaf subsides to leaf, So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. (5-8) The entire poem is only eight lines long and the
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