Monday, December 2, 2013

Robert Frost as a New England Poet or Everyday 'New England Farming Life' in the poetry of Robert Frost

Robert Lee Frost,the folk philosopher,is the most cherished nature poet of  New England,America. New England or more strictly speaking that part of it which lies north of Boston ,provides the rural context within which Frost’s most characteristic poems presented. It is this rural world which provides him not only with the setting ,but also with the objects ,the incidents ,the events and the characters he writes about. But Frost treats all these elements of nature differently from the English romantics. He takes the familiar objects as the subject matters of his poetry but makes them highly suggestive and symbolic to represent some universal wisdom.Thus,though he is forever linked to the stone-pocked hills and woods of New England, he treated the themes that have universal appeal.

Except for the brief period of his stay in England ,Frost was himself a farmer all his life ,from early boyhood down to his ripe old age .Poetry was his vocation ,but farming was his avocation.He combined the two and this gave him an intimate knowledge of the life the farmers and hence arises the truthfulness of his depictions of rural life.

In the poem 'The Pasture', for example, we are introduced with a farmer who is engaged in day to day farming life. The Pasture describes simple, every day pleasures on the farm. Here the speaker says he is setting out on an ordinary farm chore to clean the pasture spring of leaves, and perhaps wait for the water to clear. This was a typical life style of most of the farmers of New England.

The title of the poem ‘Mending Wall’ suggests a typical farming work. The New England farmers built walls as boundaries to their farms. These walls often became weak and broke down. So, they needed mending. The poem Mending Wall is also a poem about two neighbors and a wall. The wall acts as a divider in separating estates-apple and pine trees. It is a very common picture of farming life where the people believe that "Good fences make good neighbors."

In the poem “Mowing” the poet as a laborer identifies himself with his scythe. The narrator works in the field on a hot day.  He notices that his scythe seems to be whispering as it works. Instead of dreaming about inactivity or reward for its labor as a person would, the scythe takes its sole pleasure from its hard work. It receives satisfaction from “the fact” of its earnest labor in the field, not from transient dreams or irrational hopes. The narrator follows the scythe’s example: seizing on the pleasure of hard work and making hay.