As told to a child

As I went out a Crow
In a low voice said, “Oh,
I was looking for you.
How do you do?
I just came to tell you
To tell Lesley (will you?)
That her little Bluebird
Wanted me to bring word
That the north wind last night
That made the stars bright
And made ice on the trough
Almost made him cough
His tail feathers off.
He just had to fly!
But he sent her Good-by,
And said to be good,
And wear her red hood,
And look for the skunk tracks
In the snow with an ax-
And do everything!
And perhaps in the spring
He would come back and sing.”

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

13 Comments

  1. penisface says:

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  2. Lilly says:

    🙂 this poem has more than one meaning! it’s kinda hard to figure out..well that’s just me. But I thinks it’s a beautiful poem!

  3. Leslie says:

    I think Robert Frost most likely told this to his daughter, Lesley, to both teach her a life lesson and yet ultimately give her hope (within the last two stanzas of the poem, namely).
    Since his daughter’s name was Lesley, and most parents will go to great lengths to protect/help their children, one may never fully know the exact full meaning or literal interpretation of this poem.

  4. Leslie says:

    I think Robert Frost most likely told this to his daughter, Lesley, to both teach her a life lesson and yet ultimately give her hope (within the last two stanzas of the poem, namely).
    Since his daughter’s name was Lesley, and most parents will go to great lengths to protect/help their children, one may never fully know the exact full meaning or literal interpretation of this poem.

  5. Anonimus says:

    this is such a jolly and silly poem and i think that many people should read it. At the same time there can be a deep side but you really have to read it carefully and have a different mindset in order to really see it. 🙂 by the way my class is doing an analysis on this poem and im loving it!!!

  6. Gillian says:

    Oh, after all this, I just realized there’s an entire level that I forgot to mention! The fact that it is the *crow* who gives the message, rather than the bluebird, makes the whole thing even more chilling. Crows are a symbol of death, and part of the reason for that is that they eat carrion, like vultures and jackals. Their harsh cries can mark them as the messengers of death itself. And in this instance, it is the crow who ultimately decides what the bluebird’s message shall be, and the veiled references to violence may be entirely his testimony. He may have seen the skunk’s murderous action and then seized his own opportunity. Therefore, in his message, he takes care to focus the blame on the skunk, omitting his part entirely. But the obvious question is, “wouldn’t the bluebird have sent the message himself if he could? Why give it to the crow unless he had no other choice? This, more than anything else, seems to signify that the bluebird will never return — he is not just ill, but dead.

  7. Gillian says:

    I agree with the last commenter — the poem is very dark, actually. We read this in Junior Great Books when I was a child, and found that what sounded very sweet on first reading turned out to be very ominous and sad upon discussion. “Lesley” in the poem is Frost’s daughter, who has seen something upsetting — feathers? blood? — and she tells her father that the bluebird is missing, so her father gives her a message from the bird to make her feel better, but he also gives all the evidence of the truth, which she may or may not work out for herself, depending on which part of his words she wants to focus on.

    The most obvious detail tells her/us that the skunk has apparently done harm to the bluebird — she is to look out for him with an axe, no less! The following “And do everything!” may be a frightening reference to what must be done with the axe — to make sure the job is done — or it may be his parting comment that she should live a full life without her friend the bluebird. Either way, it’s not a positive admonition, but sad at the least and terrifying at most.

    The hood she is to wear can be taken as an executioner’s hood with the “red” signifying blood, so that this is the role she will play when she seeks the murdering skunk to exact retribution. (Interestingly, the skunk was a fox in an earlier version of the poem, which sounds like a more traditional villain.)

    The last two hopeful lines tell her that he may return in spring, but this may be metaphorical, or a reference to other bluebirds who will return to comfort her. It is not likely to be the same bird because the second stanza is meant to temper the hope: the bluebird’s words — his “last” word, according to the title! — tell her that the cold “almost made him “cough his tail feathers off”. He did not fly south while it was still warm, and now the north wind has come. The cough is a euphemism for the death rattle. Significantly, the ice on the trough means that he cannot drink the water, which may be his last sustenance. He is weak, and therefore easy prey. He gives her a traditional farewell — “be good!” –and he wants to leave her some comfort so that she will not grieve, but he –and Lesley’s father– know that these haunting words are to be his last.

  8. anonimus says:

    if you are actually looking deep inside the poem, you could say that somone has misfortuntly died (the blue bird), and an angel or a person who from above (the crow) has come and told lesly that his little blue bird (a really close person) is saying good bye. So i think that this can be a really deep poem as same as a childs one.

  9. robbie says:

    i think it is happy because the bluebird wanted to tell lesley he was flying south for winter and they are friends. the bluebird will be back:)

  10. maya says:

    i dont get it

  11. Matt says:

    I am using this poem for a poetry project in school. It is turning out wonderfully! NOT! I have hard questions to answer about this poem!

  12. Meraj Shah says:

    How would Lesley ever hear the rustling of a leaf again without wondering about where the Bluebird goes and how she does………Frost can really get poignant to the nadir of the soul. Tears my heart out.

  13. elie says:

    a GREAT poem but the sad Frost

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