The most characteristics quality of Robert Frosts’ poetic craftsmanship is its extreme simplicity and clarity. Though Frost was well learned in the classics and other kinds of literature, yet his diction is never burdened with his learnings. He is a great artist with words and knows how to say a great deal in a short space. His greatness and skill are seen in his mastery over the difficult art of handling conversation in verse form. His poems are epigrammatic, aphoristic, and moralistic.
Here is a list of the best Robert Forst poems:
1. Acquainted with the Night
Acquainted with the Night it is one of the finest personal, reflective lyrics of the poet. It is a record of personal melancholy touched with terror. The lyric has a complex and intricate texture, and it is possible to read it on a number of different levels. On the simplest level, it is a record of the coming and going, hearings and sayings, in the dead silence of the night, of a city walker, presumably of the poet himself
2. After Apple-Picking
After Apple-Picking is a great nature lyric that fully brings out the poet’s sensuous enjoyment of the scenes and sights, sounds and scents of nature. It is also a reverie of a monologue of a tired and drowsy apple-picker. The concrete experience of Apple picking is communicated firmly and realistically, but the poem invites a symbolic extension of meaning. The drowsiness which the speaker feels after the completion of the task is associated with the cycle of seasons. Its special character is emphasised by a bit of magic, even though the magic is whimsical.
Birches is remarkable for its skilful blending of fact and fantasy, observation and imagination. Wisdom and whimsy join to make a poem that delights the mind and endear itself to the heart. The popularity of the poem lies in its combination of picture and human appeal. It is all the more appealing because of the shrewd turns and the rare twinkle. In other words, the poem is an expression of Frost’s, rich and ripe philosophy.
4. Desert Places
Desert Places focuses on the terrifying nature of existence. Its theme is man’s utter loneliness and isolation in an indifferent and unfeeling universe. The language used is lucid, clear and dignified but devoid of all adornment or superfluity.
5. Fire and Ice
Fire and Ice provides the best illustration of Frost’s metaphysical manner, his habit of bringing together vastly opposite concepts. In this lyric, not only have such opposites been juxtaposed they have also been reconciled. The union of fire and ice is indeed remarkable. The poet has been able to reconcile and harmonise these opposites by pointing out that both are equally good for destruction. Fire, symbolising the intensity of passion or desire, as destructive as ice, symbolising the cold of hatred.
6. Home Burial
Home Burial is a dramatic dialogue in which the action is developed through the dialogue between husband and wife The over-wrought mother is cracking up under a burden of grief over the death of her firstborn. It is the shadow of her dead child that brings her into conflict with her husband and alienates them.
7. Mending Wall
Mending Wall is a dramatic lyric on monologue. The poem represents, two opposite attitudes towards life – the one is to surrender to the natural forces which draw human beings together, the other, the conservatism which persists in keeping up the distinctions separating them. The speaker is a young man, presumably the poet himself, and the lyric is an expression of his views and attitudes. The other character is the poet’s neighbour, an old farmer. Apparently, the monologue is merely descriptive and anecdotal, but it leaves the reader with a sense of puzzlement, with a feeling that the poet is driving at some point that is not clearly understood.
Mowing is a sonnet that reads like a lyric. As is usual with Frost, Mowing, too, reaches a philosophical conclusion. The moral of the poem is that real life, with all its hard labour, can give greater pleasure than all the fanciful dreams of man. Idle dreaming is rejected in favour of life and reality. It is a lyric with a moral, but the moral is not obtrusive.
9. Out, Out—
Out, Out— gives a heartrending account of a rural tragedy, and the particular tragedy merges with the universal tragedy of a man on the blighted planet of ours. The title of the poem is incomplete (as indicated by the dash) and in its incompleteness, it suggests, “the many expressions that break the flow of a sentence and verse.
10. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is one of Frost’s best know poems. The lyric is simplicity itself. On the surface, it is no more than a simple anecdote relating how the poet poses one evening along a country road to watch the snowfall in the woods. As he sits in his horse-driven carriage grazing into the soft, silent whiteness, he is tempted to stay on and on, allowing his mind to lose itself in the charming woods. He remembers that his journey has a purpose. He has promises to keep and miles to go before he can yield to the dreamlike release which the woods seem to offer.
11. The Death of the Hired Man
The Death of the Hired Man is one of the better known dramatic lyrics of Frost. It is dramatic because it does not expresses the emotions of the poet, but of the two imagined characters, a husband and wife, and as in drama the narration is conducted through dialogue between them. The central figure in the poem is the hired man, Silas, whose death the poem records.
12. The Gift Outright
The Gift Outright is a great patriotic poem. It traces in the most simple, unsophisticated manner, the whole history of the American people, their struggle against foreign domination, their complete identification with the virgin country through self-surrender. Since it was published in 1942, it has been a source of inspiration to all patriotic Americans.
13. The Need of Being Versed in Country Things
The Need of Being Versed in Country Things is profoundly simple and, likewise, simply profound. The title of the lyric is apt and suggestive, for it stresses that only one who is well-versed in country things can understand the truth about nature. Only such a one can realise that the world of nature is different from the world of men, that nature lacks the sensitivity and emotional complexity of men.
14. The Road Not Taken
The Road Not Taken is one of the finest and the most popular of the lyrics. It is one of those lyrics which combine inner lyric vision and the outer contemplative narration. The poet’s imagination is set at work by the difficulty of choosing one of the two roads, which diverge at a particular point, and he comments on the difficulty and significance of making a choice in general.
15. Tree at My Window
Tree At My Window celebrates the speaker’s love for nature. There is a tree outside the window of the poet’s bedroom. At night the sash is lowered to keep out the wind. But the point does not draw the curtain over the sash, for he does not want to lose sight of the tree. The tree seems to fascinate him.