(To hear us talk)

The tree the tempest with a crash of wood
Throws down in front of us is not to bar
Our passage to our journey’s end for good,
But just to ask us who we think we are

Insisting always on our own way so.
She likes to halt us in our runner tracks,
And make us get down in a foot of snow
Debating what to do without an ax.

And yet she knows obstruction is in vain:
We will not be put off the final goal
We have it hidden in us to attain,
Not though we have to seize earth by the pole

And, tired of aimless circling in one place,
Steer straight off after something into space.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem On a Tree Fallen Across the Road


  1. Sophie A says:

    Yes. I agree that the first three stanzas of this poem are about the humans ability to overcome obstacles. But I believe you are neglecting these last two crucial lines.
    “And, tired of aimless circling in one place,
    Steer straight off after something into space.”
    Obviously there is something other than the humans ability to overcome obstacles implied in this piece. Possibly Frost has acknowledged peoples tendency to stray from their goals and aspirations. After years of striving and searching and “aimlessly circling in one place” we as human beings find a new object of desire and simply “steer straight off after something into space.”

  2. Happy says:

    This is actually a poem of humans’ ability to overcome obstacles. If you take the 10th and 11th line of the poem into consideration, you will see that Frost may have may be implying that we, as humans, will never give up and that we have it in ourselves to overcome this “fallen tree”, this test or obstacle placed in front of us.

  3. lydih says:

    oh, and by the way- i only fully agree with one of these explanation guys, most of you aren’t getting it- it’s not about how us humans have the ability to overcome obstacles, it’s about how we’re so occupied with overcoming these obstacles placed in our way that we don’t stop to think about why they are here and who we are- like the branch in our pathway, instead sitting down and being captivated by the beauty around us, we just try to find a way around it. THIS IS NOT ABOUT OUR ABILITY TO OVERCOME PROBLEMS.

  4. lydiuh says:

    i’m a fan of this poem, robert frost isn’t really my scene- i’m more into plath and the like, but this poem is pretty amazing, i must say.

  5. JB says:

    Look a little deeper, you guys aren’t getting it. Frost was opposed to people running off without confronting what’s right in front of them. Applicable to NASA.

  6. crawford says:

    i liked this poem the most because it is about life and even though we build ourselves to be strong we can fall like the tree in the poem. some obsticles arn’t easy to over come but it can be done. the poem showed me that every thing has a weakness. you can get through any thing even if you arn’t prepared for it to happen.

  7. Olivia says:

    I love the third stanza where it basically says we all have it in us to overcome things, but it may be hidden. That is our struggle in life, to dig deep inside ourselves and to find our stregnth.

  8. Nick says:

    Aimless circles in one place, earth by the poles. The earth spins on the same axis over and over around the same sun over and over. At first we were talking about a hike in the woods and now it’s outer space—a remark of human destiny…

  9. Traverse says:

    weird and meaningful poem

  10. ea says:

    the second line in this sonnet is missing a syllable and a word. “Throws down in front of us is not bar

    Is it simply an “a” before the “bar”?

  11. Cathy says:

    anyone know what time did this poem came from , thanks

  12. julia says:

    i truly find robert frost’s poems to be amazingly brilliant. just reading them opens up a whole new side of poetry to me. i want to become a journalist and im in highschool at the moment. i truly love poetry and would love to become a professional someday. this poem.. is miracalous. i agree with all your comments except the boy with the beef.. get out of here this is a poetry discussion. i believe god has obstacles that he wants us to overcome and that people don’t realize the beauty of nature that is around us, which is the reason mother nature has to do things such as have the tree fall across the road.

  13. Ken says:

    I agree with most everyone’s understanding of this poem, but I think the conclusion in everyone’s understanding is not present. It isn’t that we walk around angry at mother nature’s ability to impede us in our achievements. It is that we attempt to hold control over the Earth (thus seize earth by the pole), yet, in the end, become part of nature, as we stare into the night sky, perhaps even sitting on the very tree, that impedes us from OUR agenda. We cannot subdue the earth because we are a part of the earth.

  14. Lucy says:

    This poem made me think about life and getting around obsticles. I hadn’t really thought about it before. I think it means that life is a test, and that God gives us obsticles that we can get around. The tree falls across the path, stopping the people walking along it. They don’t have an axe to cut their way through, yet they won’t be put off. There is no obsticle in life that we can’t get over or get passed.

  15. Ricardo Rodriguez says:

    I think it is a very good poem

  16. Ricardo Rodriguez says:

    I think it is a good poem

  17. James Fredrick says:

    hey everybody i don’t really like poetry but i just wanted to say hey hows it goin an say i hate beef. have a good day everyone

  18. Joge says:

    mother nature throws this tree in our way to make us stop and think. Unfortunately, as she knows is typical of people, always in a hurry to achieve our goals, we see the tree as an obstacle rather than an opportunity to really figure out who we are. We walk in circles being pissed about not achieving our goals while we could sit on the tree and contemplate the beauty around us. Ironically, most read this poem and miss those little details, thus they misread the poem as an homage to our human instinct to always be looking forward when Frost really wants us to engage with the moment.

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