Comment 10 of 20, added on October 20th, 2009 at 9:40 AM.
I love the simplicity and the complexity of the poem that comes through at
the same time. I get at least two perspectives; one of the dog and the one
of the observer. The dog is clearly old, and yet is still performing his
duty to bark at what needs to be barked at, still doing his sworn duty to
protect and defend its master...even though it may be behind him and he is
too tired or lame to get up and turn around. In the observer, there is a
sense of melancholy, remembering when the pup (perhaps himself, or this
friend that has provided continuous unrequited love) was young and
recognizing that the dog (again, perhaps himself, or that same friend) will
soon be gone. The simplicity and complexity are magnificent!
Bill P from United States
Comment 9 of 20, added on November 30th, 2007 at 11:18 PM.
the poem is really an exposition of sound's effect on poetry--in the phrase
"barks backwards," all of the syllables are not only stressed, but are hard
to say. this is intential as the cacophony is meant to slow the rhythm and
break it down, thus paralleling how the old dog has slowed down. moreover,
the part describing the pup is euphonious as it appeals to the ear and
easily slips off the tongue, reflecting how the pup is fast and full of
life. frost does a stunning job of reflecting the meaning of the work
through the actual sound of the words.
Charlotte from United States
Comment 8 of 20, added on April 4th, 2007 at 8:28 AM.
The first time i got to know Frost was in one of my poetry lectures in
colledge ,the spirit of his poems is imprinted forever in my mind.In fact
this poem reminded me of the notion of time around which all his poems
revolve.The poem is a deep contemplation upon this amasing creature that
turns our dreams into ashes and because of it we can never go two paths
till the end ,it is only way .
Comment 7 of 20, added on April 11th, 2006 at 8:28 AM.
The poem is very much about the span of life--the title plainly tells us
this--but what makes this poem a classic is the sound of the two lines.
Read them aloud and listen. Not only is Frost describing the two ages of
the dog (young and old), he has also captured the sound of those two
periods of life with the slow, grumbling of the first line juxtaposed with
the fast, flitting sound of the second. It is literally impossible to read
the first line quickly, and yet the second races from the lips without a
break. Paramount Frost.
P. Timothy Ervin from Japan
Comment 6 of 20, added on March 23rd, 2006 at 9:24 PM.
First of all I think that what joge said has nothing to do with this poem.
I mean why would he write a poem about poop and title it "the span of
life"? That just doesnt make sense. I agree with Lance in that this poem is
talking about how short the span of life is and how the dogs owner was
remembering how it wasnt a long time ago, when the dog was a pup.
Clare from United States
Comment 5 of 20, added on February 17th, 2006 at 7:09 PM.
that poem is retarded it has two lines!!!
Comment 4 of 20, added on November 17th, 2005 at 4:29 PM.
I beleive that what Frost is trying to get across in this poem really has
nothing to do with what the dog is doing. If looked at closer the owner is
looking back through time remembering when the dog was a pup and how short
ago it was, perhaps coincidentally the poem is so short because Frost is
trying to show how short life is and how fast it goes by.
Lance from United States
Comment 3 of 20, added on April 12th, 2005 at 2:36 PM.
I have never seen a young dog bark at anything without facing it or at
least facing the direction from which he perceived the sound or his sight
to be coming from.
This is an aging dog, keen enough to hear, but it is just not worth the
effort to get up, therefore, he turns his head and is "barking backwards".
Sadness in the remembering when he was a pup, that energy gone forever.
Karen from United States
Comment 2 of 20, added on February 22nd, 2005 at 7:13 PM.
This poem tells a lot even though it is reletively short. It does not say
anything about a dog "pooping" according to what joge commented. The poem
tells a lot about how we should think about life and treasure it, for it is
as beautiful as a pup growing up.
from United States
Comment 1 of 20, added on October 14th, 2004 at 12:00 AM.
barking backwards is the dog letting out a stinker... the
narrator remembers when the dog used to go outside to poop. So, the span
of life, at least a dog's and probably a man's, is measured by our ability
get up and let one go where it belongs. Or maybe the dog just doesn't give
a crap anymore showing. It's like an add for doggie Depends.
from United Kingdom
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