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In A Disused Graveyard Analysis

Author: Poetry of Robert Frost Type: Poetry Views: 1521

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New Hampshire1923The 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.


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The poem starts off on a nihilistic tone, though upon reflection I do not think it was written at all to address religious or philosophical perspectives on life and death. I think it should be analyzed in a closed way, with attention given only to what Robert Frost is commenting on, that being the way society treats the 'problem' of death - and, more particularly, how this treatment can be observed through the construction and arrangement of our graveyards. All this lasts for the first half of the poem, until the line "Yet can't help marking all the time, That no one dead will seem to come." This passage seems to leave us with multiple interpretations: since the end of the poem talks about our denial of our own mortality, it could mean that society is afraid of acknowledging its own eventual demise and renewal; it also seems to be commenting on the lack of more dead ex-visitors to fill up the graveyard. What exactly does Frost mean by this? He writes; 'No one dead will seem to come (to the graveyard).' When I read the poem, I visualized Frost walking alone through a hazy cemetery, gazing heavily at the inscriptions and then thinking up his own in the form of a rhyming poem. Is he trying to be satirical by parodying the messages on the tombstones? Is he writing what all of us are thinking yet remain unable to address as a society? What confuses me now, is whether or not Frost is congratulating graveyards for their wisdom on human mortality (via stone messages), or if he is trying to tell us that they are oversure of their message - the message being (my interpretation) that death can be personified, despite the glaring fact that it negates being. Thus, the dead cannot 'rest' in a cemetery - only their decomposing bodies - bodies which are no longer 'human' since they have no life, no brain functions. Maybe the stone messages oversee the fact that death cannot be experienced by anyone living, or by anything non-living. The possible suffering that leads to death must be labelled only as suffering, and the death itself is thus the negation of the mind. Thus, how can inanimate stone carvings preach about... okay, not the point. Anyways, this poem is quite interesting to me, mainly because I can't see right through it, and can't accept it as a simple, mindless ass kissing observation on graveyards and death, and everything else. I'm going to stop writing now..

| Posted on 2015-09-22 | by a guest

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