The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never anymore the dead.
The verses in it say and say:
“The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay.”
So sure of death the marbles rhyme,
Yet can’t help marking all the time
How no one dead will seem to come.
What is it men are shrinking from?
It would be easy to be clever
And tell the stones: Men hate to die
And have stopped dying now forever.
I think they would believe the lie.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem In a Disused Graveyard


  1. Norman Campbell says:

    All this reminds me of football game. A ball gets thrown–some guy way down the field runs with it. And runs. And runs. And (if all goes well) he scores a touchdown.

    Robert Frost here takes a graveyard–old and neglected–the stones crumbling–the writing all but illegible. And he tells himself, “Let’s RUN with this idea. Take it as far as we can.” In doing this–of course! he touches on stuff we all know. Living people DO come to visit cemeteries–if only for a stroll. The stuff on tombstones CAN be rather sententious–enouncing home truths as if we’d never heard them before. And most of all! the fact that virtually all human beings dread dying (“What is it men are shrinking from?”). And he chose to run with ALL these themes–and guess what? He scored a touchdown. I love this poem–seemingly whimsical yet serious.

  2. Kellie says:

    *mind, *epic

  3. Kellie says:

    I believe that this poem speaks of the ego of man not surrendering to the permanence of death. Man will loik upon those that have left their mark and left the world, and in his own mund feels he will be immortal. The grave, however, does not lie. It is an everlasting monument to the living that people are not immortal, but because the stones stand with an eoic inscription of the dead, they might be inclined to believe the lie that there is no end.

  4. Shrutika says:

    Thanks evan u made my work i.e my project easy cause i think that projects suck

  5. Shanera says:

    This poem was really good adn I enjoyed reading it. Robert Frost is a really great artist and he needs to be apprecaited for his work!!!!

  6. Evan says:

    I believe that the robert frost poems are poems that can relate to all of the people on earth. This particular one gave me the chills when i first read it because i began to think that people come in and out of my life and i dont even realize that they are there until it is too late for either me or them. I think we have to open our eyes to be able to see what life is really about.

    “The living come with grassy tread”- I think this means people come with a sort of trudging walk. People arent always excited to be alive.

    “To read the gravestones on the hill”- people come to see you or people know of you and want to come meet you.

    “The graveyard draws the living still, but never anymore the dead”- Some people come and go, but the ones that love you will never die.

    The verses in it say and say: The ones who living come today, to read the stones and go away” People come in and go out of peoples lives and they dont even realize they are there, or if they do they dont care.

    “Tomorrow, dead will come to stay” This is scary. one day someone can be in your life and the next they could be gone.

    “So sure of death the marbles rhyme” Death is a non compromisable fact of life. you cant make deals with death. it doesnt work like that.

    “Yet cant help marking all the time” Time is precious and when you count down all the time you waste it adds up to more time than you’ve actually spent doing good things.

    “How no one dead will seem to come, What is it men are shrinking from?” Men are just waiting to die and are getting so depressed from it that before long they have wasted their whole lives waiting to die instead of doing something constructive.

    “It would be easy to be clever, and tell the stones:Men Hate To Die. And have stopped dying now forever, i think they would believe the lie.”

  7. Tyler says:

    I think this poem is about people fearing death, as many of the others have stated. people come to the graveyard to read the stones and consider their own death, and where they will end up. but as far as the last line goes:

    Man is basically telling the tombstone: “Men hate to die, so we have stopped dying altogether. no more headstones will join you, ever.” And the tombstone believes the lie. The graveyard becomes “disused”.

  8. Jeremy says:

    First off, I think Jeffrey was write, Marla didnt grasp the concept of the poem at all. Its talking about how man visits graveyards for the reason to look at tombstones not to remember the people that lay beneath them. Man is scared of death, obviously, its their biggest fear. Not because of death itself but because they are scared of being forgotten. Its saying that man never realizes that a graveyard is death itself, they dont realize how those people felt and dont stop to realize that they once were. So jeffrey dont blame you for getting mad, some people are too shallow in this world.

  9. ABC says:

    Ummm… This site is for kids like me looking for quick answers to English homework, not racists and people against racists and people against people against racists… I beleive he is saying that lizards are like our cousins and the moon should be treated with respect. Yay!

    • Diane says:

      Yeah this website should be for kids to come and look for quick answers not to hear people criticize each other cause if you do YOUR being the jackass

  10. Katie says:

    Wow. I wasn’t aware that a person could be so insensitive and immature [Jeffrey]. Just because english is not a persons first language doesn’t mean they’re stupid. Failing to realize this makes you a jackass.

  11. Bobby says:

    I think that the last line where is says, i think they would belive the lie, is talking about the line before it which states that men have stopped dieing and will live forever.

  12. samantha says:

    O my gosh Jeffrey! This is a site for commenting on poetry!! not critizizing foreign people who are trying their best in our languagee!

    suman i think i need your grammar lessons since no matter english is my first language i dont know how to write in it! i just never learned at school!i suck i know..

    now..about the poem..i think he is talking about him feeling lonely. its a big metaphore. he believes he is dead in spirit, since he is depresed, and thinks everyone else are the living. he believes nomeone wahnts to visit him anymore, and that is why he is like burried on an unused graveyard

  13. Suman says:

    Dear Jeffrey,

    It was wonderful to read your insightful interpretation of Robert Frost’s lines. Given that English is obviously a second or perhaps, a third language for you I think you’ve done a wonderful job of getting at least some of your punctuation and grammar right. Far be it for me to nitpick, given your commendable efforts at expressing yourself in a foreign language such as English – please allow me to offer a word or two of advice to you.

    Vowels, except on a few rare occasions are always preceded by an ‘an’. As I have demonstrated in the last sentence.

    Also when using the plural form of a word that ends in an ‘s’, one uses an apostrophe at the end without adding an ‘s’.

    Hope that some of this information comes of use to you in your heroic effort to master the language.

  14. Lynette says:

    So, I didn’t actually come to this webpage with the intention of writing anything, but I figure, there’s always a first! So, my overall oppinion of this poem is that it is talking about death and stating that someday we all will die, but I think it speaks more about how we all take for granted the fact that we will die and choose not to think about it. If you look at the first stanza, Frost says that only the living still come to the grave yard (duh!) because the dead are already there and hence don’t need to GO to the graveyard. The second stanza states that all of the gravestones have some saying that basically says “whoever reads this will someday join me.” But, if you think about it, that is exactly what the headstones say…Here lies________ she/he…..and may she rest in peace. Or there are the headstones that say loving wife of….they will forever be joined in Heaven or something like that. Then in the third stanza he actually addresses the main point of the poem. What is it men are shrinking from? DEATH!!! But, what I fail to understand is the very last line-wth? I think they would believe the lie????

  15. Hazie says:

    I haven’t really thought about the TRUE meaning of the poem, but the first impression it left on me was that men really are attracted to death and sometimes DO wish to die. Knowing Frost as a depressing, mellow poet, it’s not a big surprise. The way the living alway come to revisit the graves also support the idea that men are attracted to death.

    Jeffrey: People are entitled to their opinions. And a person’s country/nationality has absolutely nothing to do with their interpretations. -_-; People like you shame the name of all us Americans.

  16. Shawn says:

    Jeffrey: Grow up. Be kind. After all, you’re comments were not what I would call insightful. I guess redneck American idiots must read poetry too,(on occasion).

  17. Jeffrey says:

    First of all…learn how to spell poem right, and of course someone is not going to like to die. Get a freaking life you moron! This poem is good cause it takes a in depth look at what humans biggest fear is…death. It makes you really step back and look at how Frost presents this concept also. Anyways, good poem overall, and Marla Micciche is not a very bright person…thats ok cause you are obviously not AMERICAN!

  18. Marla Micciche says:

    The peom made you think if guys really hate to die . I think it is a good poem .

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