January 29, 2013

Review #3: A Boy's Will by Robert Frost

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Robert Frost.  Robert Frost was a gifted poet and is one of my favorites.    

In memory of Mr. Frost, I read for the first time his collection entitled "A Boy's Will,"  which is Frost's first published book.  It was published in 1913, so 100 years ago (Bartleby has it as 1915, others at 1913).  Yet it still speaks to me.  It is amazing how words written a century ago can still have such an affect on us today.  I think it is the universal themes.

I found the poems in the collection were more amateurish than his later works, but that is to be expected of any writer if he writes long enough.  I still found many lovely poems that I cannot help but share with you.

The first poem that really struck me was "My November Guest".  The poem is a personification of Frost's sorrow, described as an autumn scene:

My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be

So not only does sorrow think the bare, gray days of November are tolerable, she thinks they are beautiful. But I don't think Frost is upset with her for loving these days.  It seems he is walking with her and letting her get her feelings out about it.  He is giving in to the sorrow and marinating in it for a minute, allowing himself to feel it wholly before he once again turns to happiness.

I fell in love with the language Frost uses, such as in the poem, "Waiting" in which he writes lines such as,

I dream upon the opposing lights of the hour,
Preventing shadow until the moon prevail;

or in, "Rose Pegonias"

For though the grass was scattered,
Yet every second spear
Seemed tipped with wings of color,
That tinged the atmosphere.

Have you ever read words as beautiful as that about something as simple as blades of grass?  I think not.

In "Revelation" he describes his most astonishing discovery-

We make ourselves a place apart
Behind light words that tease and flout,
But oh, the agitated heart
Till someone find us really out.

 Each one of us has been there- hiding something about ourselves from others.  And then we have to "speak the literal to inspire" in order for someone to understand us, to empathize with our plight and rejoice with us over our victories.  We must be ourselves if we want to truly know true love or friendship.

The collection takes us on a yearlong journey from autumn all the way back to autumn again, as well as from a careless boy to a more mature man who has known love and sorrow.  In his final poem, "Reluctance" he comes full circle and reflects on his journey through the woods and the fields of the seasons, as well as reflects on his discoveries of the human condition-

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

I really adored this collection and I hope I have inspired you to read it, too.  You can find the book for free online at the links below:

Project Gutenberg
Google Books
Online-Literature (pop-ups)

You might also be interested to see how much first editions go for these days.


  1. I love Frost! This is a more amateurish collection of his poetry, but still beautiful. What I loved most about this one is the way it pays homage to Thoreau and his journey in the woods away from civilization, but Frost does it through the seasons and his growth into a man. I love that.

    1. I meant to mention how it reminded me of Thoreau. I often had to stop and realize it wasn't him. I love how it comes full circle.

  2. I'm not really big on poetry but I do like Frost a lot (my favorite poem of all time is "Fire and Ice"). I didn't know much about his collections but thanks for bringing this to my attention-something nice to check out this year for its 100th anniversary then!

    1. Fire and Ice is amazing. I also love Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening and They Were Welcome to Their Belief.

  3. My favorite from this collection is "Mowing."

    1. That was also a good one, Jeanne! I liked these lines in particular:
      "Anything more than the truth would have seemed too weak
      To the earnest love that laid the swale in rows"


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