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Good -bye, and Keep Cold Analysis

Author: Poetry of Robert Lee Frost Type: Poetry Views: 631

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This saying good-bye on the edge of the dark
And cold to an orchard so young in the bark
Reminds me of all that can happen to harm
An orchard away at the end of the farm
All winter, cut off by a hill from the house.
I don't want it girdled by rabbit and mouse,
I don't want it dreamily nibbled for browse
By deer, and I don't want it budded by grouse.
(If certain it wouldn't be idle to call
I'd summon grouse, rabbit, and deer to the wall
And warn them away with a stick for a gun.)
I don't want it stirred by the heat of the sun.
(We made it secure against being, I hope,
By setting it out on a northerly slope.)
No orchard's the worse for the wintriest storm;
But one thing about it, it mustn't get warm.
"How often already you've had to be told,
Keep cold, young orchard. Good-bye and keep cold.
Dread fifty above more than fifty below."
I have to be gone for a season or so.
My business awhile is with different trees,
Less carefully nourished, less fruitful than these,
And such as is done to their wood with an axe--
Maples and birches and tamaracks.
I wish I could promise to lie in the night
And think of an orchard's arboreal plight
When slowly (and nobody comes with a light)
Its heart sinks lower under the sod.
But something has to be left to God.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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I think it is also possible that the mother is leaving her child because the mother is dying. all reasons still apply.

| Posted on 2011-02-14 | by a guest

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Well, it would seem that I am the first person to post on this particular poem. I wrote this written commentary for my English class as a practice - but I hope that it can be of some help to someone. Please note that this has been logged in an online plagiarism database, so please don't just nick off with it and claim it as your own; I put quite some time into it.
Robert Frost is well known for his poems involving aspects of nature, however Good-bye, and Stay Cold is one of his poems which takes on – although still keeping with the nature theme that is so prominent in his works – a more agricultural approach.
“This saying good-bye on the edge,” implies that the persona is about to depart from a certain place, which at this point we can only assume that it is his orchard or property. The fact that he is even saying good-bye is interesting because it implies that the persona feels a feeling of attachment to the place he is to leave behind. When one reads the ending of the first line, and further however, “…on the edge of the dark/And cold to an orchard so young in the bark/Reminds me of all that can happen to harm/An orchard away at the end of the farm/All winter, cut off by a hill from the house.” one can perhaps see the reason for his feeling of what could be perceived as guilt. The words “dark/ And cold” immediately gives the reader an image of a hostile, or unforgiving landscape. He feels guilty for putting such a young orchard in a situation where it experiences so much hardship.
Although on the surface one could simply interpret this as simply being about a young orchard in a harsh place, it could also have a deeper meaning, as many of Frost’s poem’s do. Frost’s daughter Elinor Bettina died three days after birth in 1907, and his 8 year old son Elliot died of cholera in 1904, and once we know this we begin to discover ties from his personal life to this poem. The “orchard so young in the bark” could refer to his two young children, both of whom lived in a family which at that time had, especially after Frost’s unsuccessful attempts at farming from 1897 to 1906, numerous problems. The regretful tone in the first few lines of the poem conveys his regret at his children dying, and having – in their short lives – to live in such a rough, unpleasant and undesirable situation. Moreover, when Frost say’s that he is saying, “good-bye on the edge of the dark/And cold” implies that he is perhaps saying good-bye to his sorrow and guilt at the fringe of death as implied by the words ‘edge’ – implying boundary or verge – and ‘dark and cold’ which has connotations of death. This could either refer to his death or his children’s, although it is most probably –in this instance – referring to the latter as can be seen in the line “Reminds me of all that can happen to harm,” which is in the present tense looking back at the past.
An interesting point that one can be taken from this poem, and many of his others, is that his works appear to be less melancholy than what one might expect having grown accustomed to Frost's sombre, and somewhat gloomy tone in his other poems. At first this is surprising, however the second time you read the poems, certain ideas and underlying messages begin to come through: the tone, and the way we read the poem changes. Almost without conscious thought at our actions, we read it differently and it immediately becomes far 'deeper' in meaning, more wise compared to the first reading. The way that Frost achieves this is by making the poem seem ambiguous by not delving into the finer details of the reasons for the Persona's actions. In the poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Frost says: "My little horse must think it queer/ To stop without a farmhouse near." This clearly connotes that the Persona is well aware that his pause or stop is not 'normal', and it is reinforced by Frost saying that the horse would find it odd. Horses seem to share a bond with their masters, and so this sets the base for deeper meaning in the poem because he did not elaborate on exactly why it is 'odd'. The repetition of the lines, "And miles to go before I sleep," in stanza four of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening implies that he may be slightly delirious, and so hypothermia - coherent with the snow, wind and the cold weather in general - is a possible cause. This raises the question that if he still had so far to go - and he knew as shown in the line "To stop without a farmhouse near," and "And miles to go" -, why did he stop?
Especially after the first reading of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening where - as stated above – one sees it as being ambiguous, deeper messages begin to make themselves clear. This would be especially effective if one had read any of his other works in which the despondent tone is more evident. In Frost’s poems a façade of ambiguity and false meaning is often featured. This is perhaps the way that Frost lived his life; hiding his true pain and depression behind a seemingly simple exterior-self that he projected to the world. Moreover, the way that he writes his poems (where the façade can be pulled aside in the second or third reading, and the deeper meaning revealed) implies that the false-self that he showed the outside world was very thin, and if one was to dig for any small amount of time his true nature would be revealed; as the pain, sadness and depression that he felt was too large to hide comprehensively enough that no amount of inspection would reveal what lay underneath. The melancholy tone that is featured so frequently in his poems (once the thin veneer of ambiguity has been removed or pushed aside), is a feature in itself – although perhaps not enough to identify his poems immediately as many poets have the aforementioned tone in their poems.
In line 5 Frost mentions the word ‘house’. This could be said to have a number of connotations, from religion – as in the house of God - to comfort, which is the interpretation that I will be covering. The word house can invoke a large number of feelings to people, perhaps the most notable and frequent being comfort. When we think of the word house, we think of home – a place where we belong and is ours to live in. We see it as being a place to relax, to feel as if we are safe from harm, and where a family can live in harmony and love. Frost uses this basic human emotion and feeling from the word – or connotations of the word home – to further convey his guilt, and perhaps the extent of his children’s misery at their home, or lack of home, lives. “An orchard away at the end of the farm/ All winter, cut off by a hill from the house,” further reinforces the misery which he says his children lived in. The word ‘orchard’ of course refers to the young orchard which we have established represents his children. The fact that they are at the ‘end of the farm’ implies that they were not forgotten, but weren’t overly important at the time which the memory (as shown in the line “Reminds me of all that can happen to harm”) was made. Winter has clear connotations: cold, bitter, cruel and alone, which Frost – who at this point we can assume is the persona- or at least the persona is a representation of him- feels his two deceased children were subject to during their lives. Frost goes on to say that his ‘young orchard’ was cut off from the house by a hill. The house represents the life he wished they had, or rather the life he wished he had given them, and the hill the rocky life that he made them endure. The hill is a representation of numerous things: his unstable and unloving relationship with his wife Elinor, the poor financial situation at the time due to his failed attempt at farming from the late 1890’s to early 1900’s and his depression – which ran in his family.
Lines 6-8 emphasize the fact that his children were important to him –although perhaps not as important as they should have been. Frost says that he does not want the ‘young orchard’ to be “girdled by rabb

| Posted on 2010-05-06 | by a guest

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