I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem THE ARROW AND THE SONG


  1. Mohammad Suman says:

    As on young age I did not understand the meaning….
    Now I can understand & feel the poem very much. But No one can understand me.

  2. Amyrose says:

    i have to sing this in chourus and it sounds really awesome with all the harmony and stuff but my teacher is making me write a report on longfellow. 🙁

  3. kumar says:

    Its is really nice poem..

  4. Sam Castlee says:

    wow I really like this poem its awesome it makes me think of the time my cousin and I were throwing glass into the back yard and when he left back to the army three months later I would sit outside where the glass was and sometimes I would pick it up and throw it back out there missing him.


  5. peggy dohrman says:

    I was taught the difference was that the arrow was a word or words that were mean and destructive lasted forever and hurt deeply and that songs were kinds words that gave strength and found love and hope forever

  6. lauren says:

    . In the poem the first line has the arrow which represents friendship, because like friendship can fly in a distance. The second line is saying that arrow is symbolizing it has been forgotten from sight. The last two lines in the first stanza indicates that things can change in a blink of an eye, because if you really do blink you could literally miss the flight of the arrow. In the first line of the second stanza it signifies the song as a memory or a dream, like a song others will learn them. The second line of the first and second stanza both say “it fell to earth, I knew not where” means that you do not know where life is going to take you and that you may have consequences. In the last stanza the poem uses, “oak” and I think they use this because it represents someone’s soul because your soul is strong and so is an oak tree. On the second line in the last stanza it says “I found the arrow still unbroken” symbolizes that they found there friend (from the first stanza) and they are still friend no matter what disagreement they get into. Lastly, it says “I found again in the heart of a friend” which means to me that they are friends again.

  7. Lycor says:

    Sinds I was in a 4th grade elementary school up to this day, I LOVE this poem EVER. I remember my teacher demonstrate every single words to make it LIVE of LIFE …. I thank Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for inspiring children with all his POEMs …Your name printed deeply in my MIND …

  8. Brian says:

    Third line: I lose more damn arrows that way

  9. CHOONG IL PARK says:

    It gives softness throughout, as if written by female poet. In his last stanza, I found again in a heart of a friend.

  10. Whimsy says:

    At first I thought it was a poem about someone who sows what he cannot reap — it touched the heart of the teacher in me.

    But the singer reaped what he’d sown — and I realized this could well be a hymn to matrimony!

    The leap of faith the couple takes at the altar is realized long, long afterward…. See More

    What is it doing in my kids’ poetry book?

    The kids are the fruit of that faith, hope and love at the altar, so it is somehow very appropriate to be in one of their books.

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