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Analysis and comments on Birches by Robert Frost

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Comment 52 of 152, added on September 22nd, 2009 at 6:46 AM.

For those who don't see the sexual references in this poem, I believe you
are missing part of it's beauty. Yet, there is much more to this poem.
For me it's about life, death, happiness, misery, play, work, reality,
fantasy, heaven, reincarnation, sexual discovery, youth, aging, sexual
frustration, uncertainty of death, wanting to go back to youth and
innocence, struggles of life, beauty and love of life, hoping for
reincarnation, flirting with suicide, but not wanting to die and risk not
coming back. What makes this poem great is that you can read it through
your own life and reach deeper levels of understanding as you mature. This
is a very masculine poem and I can see why some of the younger male readers
fantasize about replacing the "R" in birches with a "T".

D from United States
Comment 51 of 152, added on May 9th, 2009 at 6:10 PM.

im doing this poem for my iop and i fell in love with it as soon as i read
it. i have to talk about it for atleast ten minutes. i wish i ahd a whole
period. theres so much about this poem that speaks to me, and that i would
love to share with my class. mr. frost is a genius for a second i thought
he was actuallt talking about a boy which makes it seem at first sexual.
reading it again i see he talks about innocence, and aging. the way he uses
first second and third person makes it even more intreguing because he
doesnt lose the reader on who or what he is refering to. appearence us.
reality plays a big part in this poem as well. dreaming that he could go
back and come back. its truly remarkable how frost wrote this poem

yavi from United States
Comment 50 of 152, added on March 24th, 2009 at 7:32 AM.

not only does robert frost concure the dificulties of nature but he also
developed on a more physimetical world. one thing that needs to be
established before reading frosts poetry is the complications concerning
frosts own mental health he was experiencing a crisis out side of the war
crises, somewhere more personal ..frosts own home. its difficult to assume
the measure to which frosts depression allowed him to write many say that
its the key hole to reality. this is certainly apart in birches. however in
a letter to frank grey ( an old friend of frosts) he wrote about his sexual
frustration and his inability to conect sexualy to his wife. this sexual
frustration does radiate with in frosts peotry and its only fair to assume
that birches is a direct analogy of erectile disfuction with refrence to
the 'birches drooping' . with not one to talk to directly about frosts own
problems ho chooses to funnel his frustration through his poetry and if one
looks closly at what is being said it is increasinlgly clear.

bonjohn from Canada
Comment 49 of 152, added on March 3rd, 2009 at 10:11 PM.

For some reason, half the people on this appreciation site misuse it (I
guess they can't comprehend anything but sex, or any literature above The
Cat in the Hat). If you're not going to say something that's going to
contribute, why say anything?

Now to my thoughts on the poem. I recently had to read this for a class and
had a little trouble understanding it at first. After rereading it, though,
symbols and meaning become a little more apparent. Along with what someone
else said (a yearning to past innocence) I feel as though another theme is
a reflecting on the death of innocence. He is, after all, looking back at
these young, care-free times in admiration.

Numerous symbols exist in this poem as well. When Frost describes the trees
as young and old in the first few lines, he is perhaps referencing people,
or even himself. Ice storms are symbolizing obstacles that bend trees [test
people] over time. Perhaps, this heaven could, in a less complex way, be
symbolizing the times as a child spent innocent and idly.
Amazing poem

Ian from United States
Comment 48 of 152, added on February 18th, 2009 at 11:05 AM.

Seems to me to be about the idea of death and passing from Earth to another
place. I say "another" because I feel the theme is about dreaming of heaven
but being content on Earth, "the right place for love." It is beautiful to
dream of heaven but it is also beautiful to be reminded of the place you
are. I take it as a flirt with suicide and a realization of how life on
Earth is too good to leave behind for now.

Daniel from United States
Comment 47 of 152, added on November 7th, 2008 at 5:14 AM.

This poem could easily be about a young boy's loneliness and wanting top
grow up and experience sex. The riding of the trees could easily be a
symbol of sex. Read lines 28-32 of the poem and try to say that is not an
aspect of the poem if not the main point.

Theo from United Kingdom
Comment 46 of 152, added on March 20th, 2008 at 9:36 AM.

This Poem Is based on the natuaralities of facing life and death and
confronting these two challenges in such a confusing, elloquent,
iirationalized, unethical, contrivance but I do believe that in the end
Robert Frost is a very excellent writer and contains alot of good morals
and values especially when he proved that in his writings =]]

JULZ from Bangladesh
Comment 45 of 152, added on January 17th, 2008 at 7:53 PM.

What does the last line of the poem mean? I don't understand it.

Petuna from United States
Comment 44 of 152, added on January 6th, 2008 at 3:21 PM.

Life is something we can discuss after passing through it.It's immposible
before death.Why not talking about trees then.They can't walk and can bear
everything silently and with indignity.This noblety of trees,even the
tender ones,irritates us.It's poem of fighting,I think.

Temenuga from Bulgaria
Comment 43 of 152, added on January 4th, 2008 at 2:39 AM.

Frosts brilliance comes with his moments of cognition. Well, let me say
that I might believe that all great poetry is born from a fleeting moment
of brilliant cognition, that second when god seems to speak to you. And you
understand the world. I mean, you don't understand the whole damn thing,
but one part of the world, your part becomes crystal clear. The moment may
happen when you're watching water wash over a windshield or when a spider
is stuck in the bathtub. And those images will become a metaphor, like the
world is speaking to you. I think everyone has had a moment like that, when
you feel like poetry is the only way to express it. Perhaps I measure
poetry looking for that cognition only after reading Frost. He seems to
explain what it's like to be in that moment.

In Birches, like others of his work, he takes us through the symbols,
memories, and thoughts that he had one moment while he noticed birch trees
all bent over. And he reflected on his own nostalgia, that he swung from
trees as a kid, even while admitting that these trees are likely bent by
nature. (We had a huge willow tree where I grew up, we would swing from it
like Tarzan. I will never forget that.)

I believe Frost wrote this poem in his early 40s, at a time when many men
first start "feeling" the effects of aging. Stiff joints. And realizing
that what seems to be the truth, our past, becomes a story, really, clouded
by nostalgia. The temptation is to see the bent over birches and imagine
swinging from them. But the sensual reality is that they are bent from the
weather. The temptation is to "tame" all of the birch trees, out of a
childish playfulness and boredom.

At the time birch trees might have conjured images of corporal punishment,
a switch. I don't think he could have written the poem without alluding to
it somehow. The stinging in the eye. But the poem isn't about punishment. I
mean, daddy can spank me for going into the brier patch, but it hardly
matters, because life, the brier patch it's self, will extract a punishment
with it's thorns. Life comes with scratches, and it's as annoying as hell.

That can be too much, sometimes. It wears you down and you do want to stop
the merry-go-round, and get off once and a while. But Frost would come
back, because he can't imagine love without life, here. This poem seems to
be his case for re-incarnation. He wrote this poem when few americans
thought about re-incarnation, even though in his formative years the US was
experiencing a 'Psychic' or 'new age' sort of craze.

You spend your youth, your life, learning to climb the trees, fearlessly
but carefully. Learning to live life (tree of life) fearlessly but
carefully. And then you climb to the very top, how Frost wants it to be,
you climb to heaven and the tree gently swings you back to earth again, in
new life. He proclaims he's a "swinger of birches", like he's found his
religion, like you would aver that you are a Hindu or a Spiritualist. "One
could do worse than be a swinger of birches."

The poem is about life and only in that way does it relate to sex. because
without sex the human race would die and there would be no life. But Frost
doesn't allude to that. You know sometimes a birch tree isn't a cigar.

beadbud from United States

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Information about Birches

Poet: Robert Frost
Poem: 12. Birches
Volume: Mountain Interval
Year: 1916
Added: Feb 1 2004
Viewed: 104 times
Poem of the Day: Aug 22 2004

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