A house that lacks, seemingly, mistress and master,
With doors that none but the wind ever closes,
Its floor all littered with glass and with plaster;
It stands in a garden of old-fashioned roses.

I pass by that way in the gloaming with Mary;
‘I wonder,’ I say, ‘who the owner of those is.’
‘Oh, no one you know,’ she answers me airy,
‘But one we must ask if we want any roses.’

So we must join hands in the dew coming coldly
There in the hush of the wood that reposes,
And turn and go up to the open door boldly,
And knock to the echoes as beggars for roses.

‘Pray, are you within there, Mistress Who-were-you?’
‘Tis Mary that speaks and our errand discloses.
‘Pray, are you within there? Bestir you, bestir you!
‘Tis summer again; there’s two come for roses.

‘A word with you, that of the singer recalling–
Old Herrick: a saying that every maid knows is
A flower unplucked is but left to the falling,
And nothing is gained by not gathering roses.’

We do not loosen our hands’ intertwining
(Not caring so very much what she supposes),
There when she comes on us mistily shining
And grants us by silence the boon of her roses.

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

15 Comments

  1. Kayla says:

    Interesting poem, with a huge meaning. Even though the house is broken down and “ugly”, the beauty of the old fashioned roses make up for it. Although the roses belong to noone, it is polite to ask, for love is above. Opprotunities should be taken quickly, not “left to the falling”, because “nothing is gained by not gathering roses”, the roses being your opprotunity.

  2. arnab says:

    the poem is awesome it is wonderful

  3. Kaaayyyylin says:

    YO, Dis Peom is off da Chain

  4. kalyn says:

    wowerz it’s really radd!!!!

  5. Carrie says:

    I think that the house represents the unknown and frightning things in lie and if you want to get good things out of life (roses) you have to go up and knock on the frightning things doors or else the good things will fall unpicked and you won’t have the oppertunity to experience them

  6. mike hudson says:

    man you poem was good it was as good as you wanted it to be. if you liked it then you like it .

  7. Caroline says:

    Great Poem. it sends chills down my back, reading the last verse. I think Robert Frost’s Poems are Fantastic.

  8. ameer says:

    it definitely has a literary meaning which i think is young love.

  9. Keira says:

    This one sends chills down my spine. There is no more to be said.

  10. M. Chase Whittemore says:

    I think it is an interesting poem. The part where they turn to the house, and knock to the echos is really a great image.

    Deeper meaning? I think the line about rose unpicked implys that frost is trying to say something. It could be talents kind of thing. We all have a gift, use it.

  11. Monica, 12 says:

    I think this poem has a deeper meaning in it.
    Maybe the roses represent opportunities and you should take these opportunities and do your best with them.

    Or the house could be friends and family and if you need help you should ask them for it.

    Just my ideas though. Thanks!:D

  12. Hijljoin c. Balanac says:

    asking of roses is good for me, because im still loving for my crush and very interested poem.

  13. Ronay says:

    I am reading this poem tomorrow for a friend. She’s in the hospital dying of cancer and a co-worker is making a tape for her. I felt it appropriate for someone who by her grace and selflessness has made many friends & given many gifts. I hope she understands all the gifts that she’s given up & that we’ll still reap when she’s gone.

  14. Jake says:

    Heh, I just rearranged some of the lines from a few of Robert Frost’s poem and came up with this…

    Winter Song

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    One towards a house that lacks, seemingly, mistress and master,
    The other in leaves no step has trodden black.

    Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
    I went down the hill along the path
    To the right,
    Towards the house.

    I halted in the wind, and–what was that
    Far in the maples, pale, but not a ghost?
    Admittedly, it was an eloquence so soft, like
    A flower unplucked, left to the falling.

    I had to stop and lift my face,
    And see the bird with an angelic gift,
    Crying as the gauntlet of winter clasped firm about the leaves
    No step has trodden black.

  15. Nina says:

    I can appreciate this poem. I’m looking forward to reading some more.

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