Love and forgetting might have carried them
A little further up the mountain side
With night so near, but not much further up.
They must have halted soon in any case
With thoughts of a path back, how rough it was
With rock and washout, and unsafe in darkness;
When they were halted by a tumbled wall
With barbed-wire binding. They stood facing this,
Spending what onward impulse they still had
In One last look the way they must not go,
On up the failing path, where, if a stone
Or earthslide moved at night, it moved itself;
No footstep moved it. ‘This is all,’ they sighed,
Good-night to woods.’ But not so; there was more.
A doe from round a spruce stood looking at them
Across the wall, as near the wall as they.
She saw them in their field, they her in hers.
The difficulty of seeing what stood still,
Like some up-ended boulder split in two,
Was in her clouded eyes; they saw no fear there.
She seemed to think that two thus they were safe.
Then, as if they were something that, though strange,
She could not trouble her mind with too long,
She sighed and passed unscared along the wall.
‘This, then, is all. What more is there to ask?’
But no, not yet. A snort to bid them wait.
A buck from round the spruce stood looking at them
Across the wall as near the wall as they.
This was an antlered buck of lusty nostril,
Not the same doe come back into her place.
He viewed them quizzically with jerks of head,
As if to ask, ‘Why don’t you make some motion?
Or give some sign of life? Because you can’t.
I doubt if you’re as living as you look.’
Thus till he had them almost feeling dared
To stretch a proffering hand — and a spell-breaking.
Then he too passed unscared along the wall.
Two had seen two, whichever side you spoke from.
‘This must be all.’ It was all. Still they stood,
A great wave from it going over them,
As if the earth in one unlooked-for favour
Had made them certain earth returned their love.

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

11 Comments

  1. Lexi says:

    What I really think the poem is about is that this couple loves each other very much but the treacherous path has weakened their love. If they work out their problems or go over this wall with barbed wire and what have you then they will continue on if not then they stay with the dear. I think this shows the human capacity to love…

  2. Dora says:

    I simply think the poem is talkn about two people on a hike who suddenly come across a wall with a barbed wire to their disappointment but are also weary of going back as its fast gettn dark and the way back look difficult and dangerous! Suddenly comes a doe opposite d fence who regards them unsure of their purpose but unscared goes on its way. Next is the buck who was a little less patient than d doe, but who also unscared walks away. The couple suddenly feels a sense of ones with nature at that precise time.

  3. jen says:

    Jerry is right. This poem is not about a human relationship in turmoil as others have commented.

    In this poem, the couple is in love–very deeply in love. They travel up the mountain even though it is getting dark because they want to be together, and not turn back. When they come upon the wall, they know that they cannot go further, but they want to. They stand there and contemplate going further. But before they turn back, they come face to face with two deer–who are also at the wall, and can go no further. When they see the deer, it is like they are looking in a mirror. They see themselves in the deer–they too are a couple walking through the woods, yet the wall keeps them (humans and nature) from truly becoming one. They display mutual respect for each other, and at this time, the humans feel a deep connection with nature. They see it as a rare moment to reinforce their unity with the earth, and to reinforce their love. They would never have seen this had they not been so in love, and had turned back early. Beautiful poem!

  4. David says:

    Well this poem could be interpreted in many ways. This could also be interperted as two hikers going up a mountain. Then they meet two deers that are being separted by a wall symbolizing that humans really destruct mothe rnature, remeber that Frost was against humans because he beileved that it was all humans fault that bad things happen to helpless animals.

  5. Kim says:

    I don’t see it as a relationship problem, rather I think it deals more with the idea of living compared to not living. The buck questions whether or not they are alive because they are afraid to move and “live,” where-as the deer are “living” in the moment. They do however love nature and in the end feel as though nature loves them back; it gave them an un-asked for favor in showing them that they aren’t “living.” The poem doesn’t specify who the two people are, leading me away from claiming it is a relationship.

  6. Jason says:

    If you look at the poem it has only one stanza and all of the lines are relatively the same length. One can see that this reflects the idea that for a few seconds the two animals and humans are equal and one in the same. This is shown by Frost as he uses the animals perspective also, they are equal, apart of a larger force; mother nature. Yeah! I have an exam tomorrow! Whaat!

  7. temi says:

    the poem is all about a form of understanding btwn man and nature. the deer and the buck represent nature because the wood is their natural habitat and they didnt make any move to attack the couple because they were invading their privacy, instead, they passed unscared along the wall………………..i guess!!

  8. Lauren says:

    Its about a man and woman having a difficult relationship. The image of the couple going up a mountain is their tough journey through life and tough journey of fixing their relationship because the buck says that “Why don’t you make some motion? Or give osme sign of life? Because you can’t. I doubt if you’re as living as you look.” Their relationship is dead. The wall with barbed-wire binding is an image of prison and being trapped in a relationship or trapped momentarily because of a difficult time in relationship. Line 1-3 mean that love can’t work all the magic in a relationship in its own..its takes hard work and committment. Love can’t do it all. Line 4-6 show the couples’ thoughts of giving up, turning around, and being scared of the dark which is the unknowing or death. The end means they fix their relationship or either go to heaven.

  9. Ategbero Ayodele Samson says:

    My coment on this peom is dat i love dthe way it was writing,because i was a commacere student in school and i love ds peom most in all d peom will r tought in school.That’s all i ve to say about two look at two.

  10. wendy parry says:

    I am not sure I agree that the couple are having trouble. I feel it is more a surprise role reversal: The humans are afraid, there are many words expressing unease here, and fear, yet the deer, normally the shy ones are unafraid., words of security and safety are associated with them, they are safe and unscared, whilst the humans are nervous of the approaching dark in the woods; The couple are surprised to see the deer and ultimately feel priviledged to have shared the moment whereas the deer are unconcerned, aloof, anthropomorphically condescending towards the human couple; they are of no consequence. The deer leave and the couple feel re-assured that the woods/natural world is not a place to be afraid of.

  11. Louise says:

    this poem is about a man and woman, who are having difficulties in their relationship. they are going through a rough patch, and the imagery of climbing up a mountain, is really their journey through getting their relationship back on track. the doe and the buck symbolises themselves. robert frost continually uses comparisons of nature, to show a human situation being resolved in nature. there are many comparisons in the poem, for example mending wall, talking about two couples across the wall, just like the neighbours mending the wall, each on a different side of the wall. the poem is very difficult to understand, although breaking it down, and using the title, help us to understand it. the title is of great significance in this poem.

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