I had withdrawn in forest, and my song
Was swallowed up in leaves that blew alway;
And to the forest edge you came one day
(This was my dream) and looked and pondered long,
But did not enter, though the wish was strong:
you shook your pensive head as who should say,
‘I dare not–to far in his footsteps stray-
He must seek me would he undo the wrong.’

Not far, but near, I stood and saw it all
behind low boughs the trees let down outside;
And the sweet pang it cost me not to call
And tell you that I saw does still abide.
But ’tis not true that thus I dwelt aloof,
For the wood wakes, and you are here for proof.

4 Comments

  1. Leah says:

    I read this completely differently. I felt it was an illicit relationship between two people, one that was waiting and the other that was torn between wanting to go to that person and caving to duty and morals that did not allow him to go. She saw his indecision and was willing to wait for him, the fact that he came at all to the forest means he knew where she was, he was yearning to be with her, but was not strong enough to overcome the obstacles.

  2. Jesse says:

    My interpretation of the last part of the poem is a little different. To me, “The wood wakes” communicates the idea of bramble and “low boughs” parting as another person enters the forest. Therefore, the annonymous character is the hero/heroine; the main character isn’t taking credit for his own recovery.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Frost’s recurring use of ‘forest’ as a metaphor for mental illness is evident in this poem. He is basically saying that “I was depressed and you tried to understand, but you were not willing to go insane to do that. I had to come to you; you could not come to me. I saw you waiting to help me. I wanted to thank you. I responded and am healthy again.”

  4. Rao says:

    “And the sweet pang it cost me not to call” —

    Epitome of the poem? The poet certainly felt this.

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