Sea waves are green and wet,
But up from where they die,
Rise others vaster yet,
And those are brown and dry.

They are the sea made land
To come at the fisher town,
And bury in solid sand
The men she could not drown.

She may know cove and cape,
But she does not know mankind
If by any change of shape,
She hopes to cut off mind.

Men left her a ship to sink:
They can leave her a hut as well;
And be but more free to think
For the one more cast-off shell.

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

7 Comments

  1. jack says:

    i dont get the poem, but it sounds meaningful

  2. Adeeba says:

    I agree with Benjy. Though this poem antagonizes nature as a destroyer (there is a great deal of death imagery), it ultimately shows mankind as the winner. This poem exemplifies the idea that man and nature are constantly in battle with each other, though only on a literal level. On a figurative level, it is possible that this poem is allegorizing the relationship between powers, that power is constantly in a cycle, shifting from one force to another.

  3. benjy treister says:

    Benjy Treister
    April 29, 2006
    Native English 9#

    “Sand dunes” by Robert frost.

    Sea waves are green and wet,
    But up from where they die,
    Raise others vaster yet,
    And those are brown and dry.

    They are the sea made land
    To come at the fisher town,
    And bury in solid sand
    The men she could not drown.

    She may know cove and cape,
    But she does not know mankind
    If by any change of shape,
    She hopes to cut off mind.

    Men left her a ship to sink:
    They can leave her a hut as well;
    And be but more free to think
    For the one more cast-off shell.

    In the poem “sand dunes”, Robert frost talks about the sea and the sand, and nature itself, as wishing to destroy human striving and achievement. The morel of the poem, however, is that humans will ultimately prevail.

    We first see the destructive fore of nature in the second stanza. The sand dunes goal is described as to “bury in solid sand\
    The men she could not drown.” these lines refer to normal human burial. “She,” refers to the sea, indicating that all of nature-the sea and the sand-wish to kill humans.
    We see the destructive force off nature again in the second stanza. The sea and the sand dunes, and possibly nature itself, are described as wishing to “cut off mind”. “cut off mind,” refers to physical death, but it also means cutting of human striving and achievement, for this is what the human mind, and the human kind as a hole does.
    But finally, we see the morel of the poem, that “human ultimately prevails” in the third forth stanza.
    In the third stanza it says “But she [nature] does not know mankind.” this means that nature does not know the way in which the human mind works. Human mind is continues, and therefore nature can not prevail.
    But we see this point better in the last stanza. “And be but more free to think\For the one more cast-off shell.” nature may try its best to sink human boats, or destroy huts. But man will not stop. They will overcome, and continuo on. Nature, by sinking a ship gives man more freedom of mind. To think how to fix the problem or how to make ships unsinkable. And to overcome nature.

    In “sand dunes,” we encounter nature as a destructive force striving hard to destroy mankind, in physical way, but also to destroy human achievements. But in the poem, mankind is described as an unstoppable force. No matter what nature will try to do to stop mankind, mankind shall prevail, because the mans mind is continues.

  4. Jodi says:

    This poem is so evocative. It was selected as a poem to recite in class. Sand dunes are constantly shifting shape and those living near them know they are beautiful in their changing graceful lines. But there is always the threat of the sea that comes across in the poem.

  5. grace says:

    Hmm.. Sierra from United States.. I think there is a reason why Robert Frost is considered one of the greatest poets of all time. So please keep negative comments to yourself because you just look ignorant. This poem is so intricately written so that every word and structure adds unto its meaning. I especially love the “hut” part, where this “hut” can be compared to a grave that forms when the sand dunes swallow men.

  6. Katie says:

    The language is stunningly beautiful, and the idea is poignant and strong. Not all poems have meaning, but this one certainly does.

  7. Sierra says:

    I think this poem is pointless!

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