Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem Gathering Leaves


  1. Susan Deneke says:

    It seems that most of the readers have missed the point that the entire poem is a metaphor. If you realize that “leaves” has two meanings you will see that the whole poem is a tongue in cheek description of the career of a poet. “Next to nothing for use, but a crop is a crop.” Remember the man had a sense of humor.

  2. Dreamshunter says:

    I think the amazing point of this poem is that every line here I can use them to describe my daily life,the monotonous lifestyle…yet somehow I am rather curious about the technique that Frost had used in creating the beat…..

  3. Ben barry says:

    This poem is fun to read because it brings back child memories

  4. tina says:

    i looooooved this poem. its so sweet and simple. It reminds me of when i lived in New Hampshire and was raking leaves. I can picture everything!

  5. Steve Bailey says:

    Wonderful Poem… it evokes such visual images… the leaves seem as ideas that are so abundant….who knows where the harvest will stop… love it..

  6. Emily says:

    I do not understand how anyone can think that this poem is boring. I had to do a project on it for school. I think this poem is wonderful!!

  7. Happy Pappy says:

    this poem is quite boring. i can’t imagine what it took to write a poem about gathering leaves after they fell from a tree. there is nothing poetic about it. they’re just leaves. Robert Frost must have had too much time on his hands if he actually thought it was good.

  8. Antone says:

    I too heard this poem on the public radio station yesterday. It was lost and now found again since I recited it more than 30 years ago in Mr. Haussen’s Modern Poetry High School Class at Amity. What a delight is is to share it tonight with my 9 year-old son.

  9. Allen James says:

    Just heard this poem read on the Radio. What a delight! I was on the way home after a rough day at the office, and this is just what I needed to cleanse myself of all the rigours of my job. My bride will be home later this evening, as she has a meeting with her womens Art group. I’ll be all alone, and drinking a beer, thinking about this refreshing little Autumn treat.

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