Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Poem Analysis Essay on To Earthward by Robert Frost
Poem Analysis Essay on To Earthward By Robert Frost
The poem “To Earthward” by Robert Frost is a literary piece that talks about the different stages of love. In particular, it shows the concept of how love can evolve over time – from a blooming and vibrant love experienced by youth to a broken love that yearns for healing and relief from pain. The writer begins his piece with the lines “Love at the lips was touch/ as sweet as I could bear” (Frost 1). In this opening phrase, it is apparent how the author presents a type of youthful love as symbolized by a simple but sweet kiss. Frost employed words such as “lips” and “lover” to underline the art of kissing, its simplicity, and the joy it brings to young lovers. This is followed by a quatrain that reads “and once that seemed too much, I lived on air”. In this line, Frost paints a picture of the beauty and feeling of elatedness brought about by kissing. This was exemplified in the phrase, “I lived on air”, which portrays a kind of high or euphoria brought about by kissing the one you love. The entire stanza seem to show the experience of a youth and blossoming love as evident in the writer’s choice of words.
The second stanza posts a question. What is interesting about this question is that it seems directed to the narrator himself. The lines: “That crossed me from sweet things, the flow of – was it musk from hidden grapevine springs, downhill at dusk?” (Frost 1). is a reminder of the sweet smell of honeysuckle and the dews that dropped from the flowers that were picked and given to the other person. These lines similarly show the youthfulness of the narrator and how a young love forays romance through the use of flowers.
Unlike the first two stanzas, the third and fourth stanza, seem to take a dark turn. This is evident in his choice of words as well as in the phrases “swirl and ache” and “the petal of the rose it was stung”. Such phrases emphasized the pain experienced by the narrator. Alternately, he compares his experience during his youth with the pain he is feeling now which is expressed in the lines: “I craved string sweets, but those seemed strong when I was young” (Frost 1). The presence of a paradoxical phrase “the petal of the rose it was stung” also suggest how something so beautiful had turned into something that causes pain and heartaches. It is also apparent how these two stanzas have evolved from the youthful love in to an adult love that is now exposed to the painful reality.
The writer continues with his lament as he employs similarly sad phrases to emphasize the pain brought about by love. This is shown in the lines “Now no joy but lacks salt that is not dashed with pain and weariness and fault I crave the stain” (Frost 1). In here, the reader can feel the exhaustion and the pain of the narrator. In fact, the line signifies how love seems to create an everyday suffering and heartache. He continues with the lines: “Of tears, the after mark, of almost too much love, the sweet of bitter bark and burning clove” (Frost 1). Again, the narrator suggests his sad realization that loving too much seem to cause him extreme pain and sadness.
In the last two stanzas, Frost has once again changed his tone. If the first two stanzas are about romantic love, and the third and fourth stanza is about a sharp, then the last two talks about realizations. In particular, the narrator seems to express that the youthful love and the bitter love that he experienced is too much for him to bear. As such, he expresses his desire to unshackle himself from the chains of love. This is best shown in the lines: “When stiff and sore and scarred I take away my hands. From learning on it hard in grass and sand” (Frost 1). Consequently, He yearns for a sense of freedom from the pain as exemplified in the lines: “I long for weight and strength to feel the earth as rough to all my length” (Frost 1).
Frost, Robert. 2013. To Earthward. Poems. Retrieved 4 July 2013 from