Birches, a poem by Robert Frost, is set on a New England farm remote from town. Before them, a sheet was draped over their heads to dry in the sun. They make a connection with themselves. Notably, the narrator's desire to flee the logical world is inconclusive. He does not want to go back to school or work.
Frost was an American poet who made his career during the early part of the 20th century. His works often include images and metaphors of trees and forests. Birches is one of these poems. It was first published in 1918 in Life magazine with the title "In the Heart of the Country". The poem was later included in Frost's collection, Harvest Songs, published in 1920.
Here are some lines from the poem:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep. So let me climb up into my tree, And watch the world pass by.
These words express the idea that we need time to relax and be alone with our thoughts. In modern times this is difficult because there is so much technology which keeps us occupied all the time. A person who spends too much time online or watching television is not getting enough sleep, which is important for thinking clearly and having energy for everything else in life.
Frost's principal thesis in "Birches" is that life is more lovely and good than paradise. He was 40 when he wrote the poem, and it expresses the thoughts of a middle-aged man looking both forward to death and backward to youth. It is a poem about loss and grief, but also one of transformation and hope.
The birches are frozen, but not dead. They will thaw with the coming spring and be reborn. Life is full of renewal and beauty, even in the face of death. This truth is the central theme of the poem: life is more precious than we think, even when our loved ones do die.
Frost was an American poet who specialized in pastiches and epigrams. His work often includes references to other poems by poets such as Milton and Shakespeare. "Birches" is no exception, as it contains several allusions to other works by Frost. One example is the phrase "grace for a season" which comes from a poem by William Blake called "The Divine Image". The main idea of this poem by Blake is that God is an entity that can only be described as "an image of grace and love".
Frost wrote "Birches" on January 21st, 1922. At the time, his wife had just died after a long illness.
It's as if the inner dome of heaven had collapsed. Paradise is not only possible but actual, yet all is not well with the world.
The poem consists of 22 distichs (lines of verse), which are further divided into four quatrains (groups of four lines). The first quatrain begins: "O fair birch tree, what makes you so sad?" etc. The last line of each quatrain has the word "happy" added to it, while the final line of the poem repeats the opening line.
Birch trees were known for their happy attitude toward life; indeed, they were called the happy tree. Frost was probably thinking of a particular birch tree when he wrote this poem. Perhaps it was a tree by a river where he spent many pleasant hours fishing with his friends.
Or perhaps he was thinking of the entire concept of happiness. After all, he was an English professor who knew a lot about sorrow and grief. Maybe he was asking himself how it was possible to be happy when everyone else was crying in the world. Or maybe he was simply stating that no matter how perfect paradise might be, there would still be pain and suffering.