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Two Tramps In Mud Time Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Frost Type: poem Views: 96

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Out of the mud two strangers came

And caught me splitting wood in the yard,

And one of them put me off my aim

By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!"

I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind

And let the other go on a way.

I knew pretty well what he had in mind:

He wanted to take my job for pay.

Good blocks of oak it was I split,

As large around as the chopping block;

And every piece I squarely hit

Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.

The blows that a life of self-control

Spares to strike for the common good,

That day, giving a loose to my soul,

I spent on the unimportant wood.

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.

You know how it is with an April day

When the sun is out and the wind is still,

You're one month on in the middle of May.

But if you so much as dare to speak,

A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,

A wind comes off a frozen peak,

And you're two months back in the middle of March.

A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight

And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,

His song so pitched as not to excite

A single flower as yet to bloom.

It is snowing a flake; and he half knew

Winter was only playing possum.

Except in color he isn't blue,

But he wouldn't advise a thing to blossom.

The water for which we may have to look

In summertime with a witching wand,

In every wheelrut's now a brook,

In every print of a hoof a pond.

Be glad of water, but don't forget

The lurking frost in the earth beneath

That will steal forth after the sun is set

And show on the water its crystal teeth.

The time when most I loved my task

The two must make me love it more

By coming with what they came to ask.

You'd think I never had felt before

The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,

The grip of earth on outspread feet,

The life of muscles rocking soft

And smooth and moist in vernal heat.

Out of the wood two hulking tramps

(From sleeping God knows where last night,

But not long since in the lumber camps).

They thought all chopping was theirs of right.

Men of the woods and lumberjacks,

They judged me by their appropriate tool.

Except as a fellow handled an ax

They had no way of knowing a fool.

Nothing on either side was said.

They knew they had but to stay their stay

And all their logic would fill my head:

As that I had no right to play

With what was another man's work for gain.

My right might be love but theirs was need.

And where the two exist in twain

Theirs was the better right--agreed.

But yield who will to their separation,

My object in living is to unite

My avocation and my vocation

As my two eyes make one in sight.

Only where love and need are one,

And the work is play for mortal stakes,

Is the deed ever really done

For Heaven and the future's sakes.


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

.: :.

this is a poetry contemplating the pivotal point of contrasting forces,encircled with socio political ideology.and it deliberately attempt to extract the ethical overview of choice.symbolically avocation and vocation are amalgamated and coincided with poet\'s individual context.although it is far fetched from the reality only because the cause of social dignity.

| Posted on 2013-01-08 | by a guest

.: :.

this poem reflects the ideas explained in the morality sectors of the politically rejected idea of social conservationism and abstractations of human sociology.

| Posted on 2009-10-25 | by a guest

.: :.

Wow, I don't agree with the above interpretation at all. Not only is the narrator poor enough to be cutting his own wood, but he's not talking about the gulf between haves and have-nots at all. Whether or not he gives the axe and a few dollars to the tramp for work he'd gladly do himself, the point is that the moment evoked a deeper thought. It's an ambiguity, that "only where love and need are one... is the work ever truly done for Heaven and the future's sake." The narrator was doing work for love, the tramp for need... somehow, Frost writes, we must reconcile these two if our work is to be meaningful and contribute in the long run to humanity.

| Posted on 2008-04-14 | by a guest

.: Rich & Poor :.

I think the point of the poem is that we have to settle and that's sad. I think that's why the "sun was warm but the wind was chill."

The lumberjacks needed the work. And their need trumped the narrator’s pleasure. That's life. We don't get exactly what we want; we make sacrifices and compromises, because that's the only humane thing to do. If we don't, if we try to live as our heart longs, others suffer. That's because our hearts, as made obvious by the course of history and the activities of the rich who could make choices, are egocentric.

That's why rich people cause so much damage. They're trying to live the way they want to, and not compromising with the rest of us. The poem, I think, is about a person who, while he pays lip service to being socially conscious, resents the lumberjacks, the "hulking tramps," for presenting their need in such a way that the narrator must give up his fun.

I think it's a poem about a rich person being bothered by a poor person. That's how I take it. Even more, I think the rich person is trying to say that living as he wants is what Heaven will be like and the only way we'll progress as a people, thus justifying his failure to "strike for the common good."

Like everyone, I want to love what I do, but there's nothing wrong with compromising. That's the only way we'll reduce poverty, war, sexism, racism, etc.... Compromise is at the heart of politics. I know the hippie generation, all the baby-boomers taught us differently, but that's because their own sense of entitlement trumps that of probably any generation before them.

| Posted on 2007-04-04 | by a guest

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