Comment 5 of 41, added on November 26th, 2005 at 8:06 PM.
There are three poems which were added to the last part of Robert Frost’s
fifth volume, West Running-Brook when the Collected Poems was published in
1930. “What Fifty Said” cited above is one of the three, which was thought
to be written in 1925 when the poet was 50 years old, but then he
misunderstood his age, that is, he estimated it to be one year younger than
he was. Anyone who is over fifty might have a chance to make a story about
his or her age. Of course I do not meat the poet was dishonest about his
birth year. This was deeply caused by his premature judgment and misgiving
concerning the marriage of his parents which is indicated by another one of
the three additional poems, “The Lovely Shall Be Choosers.” It is later in
life that he noticed there had been something wrong with his age. Anyhow,
I would like to say that the problem of this kind is not so important when
we appreciate the poem itself, “What Fifty Said.” Needless to say, what the
poet expresses in it is to elaborate his place to stand as a poet, an
educator, and a human being when he reached a decisive turning point in
life at the mature age of fifty or so. This problem may lead directly to
the reason of existence of West-Running Brook itself which has not been so
highly evaluated by most critics.
The decline and exhaustion of imaginative powers are serious problems
especially for those who are engaged in artistic activities through which
they are getting close to the mystic dimensions beyond everyday life. Some
poets have depended on hallucinogenic substances or alcohol to elevate
their creative mind up to the height of beatitude. Some have been
attempting to attain their artistic designs in deferent ways from the use
of drugs. Though it doesn’t matter whomever we like, most of them are
forced to face the degeneration of their visionary mind sooner or later as
their physical or mental strength is declining. And they have been making
a constant effort to overcome their limitation and open a new gate to the
higher stage of mastery.
The world Robert Frost showed to us in West-Running Brook might be
considered as a fruitful result he groped in the spiritual darkness.