Thursday, August 10, 2017

"Into My Own" by Robert Frost


INTO MY OWN by Robert Frost

ONE of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day

Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e’er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew—
Only more sure of all I thought was true.


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Personal Postscript: 

The poem included above is the first in Robert Frost's first published collection, A Boy's Will. It also appears as the first poem in the Library of America edition of Frost's collected poems, prose, and plays.

If you want an improved experience with Frost's poem, read the poem aloud (which is usually good advice for any poem but is even better advice for Frost's poems), and then take a few minutes to read this important article, and be sure to view the embedded video.

Now, even though much of the article and the embedded video include focus on another Frost poem, "Kitty Hawk" (available via this link), I invite you to read "Into My Own" (the poem copied above) in light of Professor Hart's argument. To my mind, both poems point to Frost's state of mind (depression) and his need to be needed. With respect to depression, many of us can relate to the poem; with respect to the need to be needed, the poem becomes a universal experience. 

Now I invite you to share your explication of "Into My Own."
So, tell me what you think.



8 comments:

  1. I like his discussion of growing confidence and courage, Tim. And he ties it in beautifully with nature, I think.

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    1. Yes, Margot, there is that, but I also see a lot of irony. Perhaps I'm wrong.

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  2. Depression? Yes. But he still goes on, in spite of it. It is similar, I think, to Stopping By Woods in that respect.

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    1. Fred, I've seen biographers link the poem to the Dismal Swamp episode. The link is persuasive. Frost, I believe, had lifelong issues with depression. He was a complicated man.

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    2. R.T.--no argument there. While in class I suggested that Stopping by Woods represented an internal debate in which he considered and then rejected suicide. I was told I was over-reading again.

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    3. Fred, to my mind, that's not over reading. I agree with you about the suicide issue in that poem.

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    4. By the way, Fred, I've started another reading of the Jay Parini biography of Frost. I recommend it to anyone interested in Frost's life and work.

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    5. R.T.--Thanks for the reference. I will keep him in mind.

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