Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last long aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question ‘Whither?’

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem Reluctance


  1. Dr. Palani Kumar M says:

    While facing some problems/sufferings/pains , as a human , we had not to take anything to heart and think abt it always . If we hav some bad /ill days in our life, we have definitely something good in future. Indeed instead of thinking about our past, live ur life at present .

  2. Carolyn says:

    Robert Frost’s poems are good.

  3. Palani kumar says:

    Life is not permenant. So while living , let’s accept the iOS and downs in life. The poem focusses and delivers a strong message that everyone should have the sense of appreciation and sense of love . In addition to this, no one should give up hope and confident until the last breathe of life / the last drop of the bottom of the bottle. Tank u

  4. srhtr says:

    i loved the poem

  5. John MacRae Fox says:

    Reluctance of the homebound speaker to end a journey finds reinforcement in that of the noble oak to relinquish leaves. A solitary heart in each denies its losses of love and seasons, suggesting the two are so similar, but triteness says so in only lesser poetry than this. The spirit is willing, or the heart is, to resist both the drift of things and yielding to reason, but the feet betray the weakness of flesh, and demand “Whither?”

  6. Faurar Magda says:

    The wonderous heart had seen and felt a lot while try to find the meaning in the void that was left after the disappearance of love.
    The world chosen by the author lead the reader to think that something is wrong and everything hurts .It is love…seen at its sunset descends and ”is ended”:
    ”And looked at the world, and descended;/i have come by the highway home /And Io it is ended”.
    The choice of the season is not left to chance ,seems the imagery comes to reinfoce
    the thoughts of the author through very vivid images :”The leaves are all dead on the ground”,”over the crusted snow”,”scraping and creeping”,”and the dead leaves lie huddled and still,/no longer blown hither and thither”.
    The snow ,even though is suggesting purity and maybe a new beginning, is crusted which means that everything is frozen starting with nature and ending with the flame of love :”the last aster is gone/ the flowers of the witch-hazel wither”.
    The pain suffered due to this twilight(”the heart is still aching to seek”)is emphasize by the fact that there seems to be no purpose left ,no tomorrow,no shores to be looking for(”but the feet question’Whither’ ”).
    It seems that with this loss there comes lack of purpose and desire to fiind a meaningful answer to all this.
    The poem ends with a rethorical question which comprises a general truth not yet found .It is a question addressed to the Gods or maybe to the human nature which is so mysterious and difficult to comprehend .
    This last question can be a cry for an answer that will never come , but will hunt the mind of the man/person who finds it difficult to yield in front of reality because the heart of that person will see this acceptance of defeat as a treason
    even though she cannot change irreversible facts.
    The message is a simple one which states that no matter the time or the place this state of facts will always be the same ,because man can never bow in front of the evidence and accept that which faith or the Gods has chosen for him.
    He will always question them and look for an answer and fight against all odds to succeed in preserving this feeling of love that makes him happy.
    So season may come and go and so may love but the heart of man will always consider it a treason”to bow and accept the end of a love or a season”.
    It is human hubris that will make man fight and never accept the evidence of facts that everything is mortal and passing in this world and that you can never preserve ,that which is ephemeral but in the same time so beautiful(last stanza*)… The whole poem is an environmental metaphor since the loss of love is compared with the end of autumn and the choice of epiteths helps the author creat a vivd imagery of loss ,lament and grief.
    Yet the end leaves place for hope because it is the question nature of man that keeps him going.

  7. Daniel says:

    Read this poem, and the last stanza, when you’re feeling desperate and drawn to give away your ideals or when you feel like you’re losing your love – it doesn’t make things better, but it makes you feel proud of at least not “going with the drift of things”.

  8. Luke says:

    Im still amazed at how effectively Robert Frost is able to use environmental metaphors. This poem is very good.

  9. Annie says:

    My father used the last stanza of this poem on a notice he sent out when our Golden Retriever, Mick, died of cancer. When I read this I can’t help but think of man’s reluctance to give up a moment in nature.

    Maybe the same is true for dogs.

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