Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Poetry as Winter Approaches

Robert Frost, who lived from 1874-1963 published “October” in 1915.  It was among the poems that he included in “A Boy’s Will”.

Outside there is an autumn mist upon my windowpane. Inside where I am warm I turn to the poem “October” in which Frost wishes that time be slowed, "Begin the hours of this day slow",  before the approaching winter.  He urges the reader to cherish each moment with "Hearts not averse to being beguiled".  Winter becomes a metaphor for death and finality, as he seeks enchantment.  Like many of Frost’s poems, “October” references nature to draw out meaning. This is done similarly in “Nothing Gold Can Stay” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”.

Marcel Proust's narrator for In Search of Lost Time said, "A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves anew." I hope you will find similar thoughts expressed by Robert Frost in his poem simply titled "October".


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

-  Robert Frost

A Boy's Will by Robert Frost.   1st World Library, 2006 (1915) 


Brian Joseph said...

I have also been reading a little Robert Frost myself lately.

His way of portraying death and decline is so calmly melancholy. I find it deeply affecting. October is no exception.

James said...


Thanks for sharing your observation. Perhaps this time of year was special to Robert Frost. As a poet he seemed to share his outlook on life both subjectively and objectively.