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The Wood-Pile Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Frost Type: poem Views: 67

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Out walking in the frozen swamp one gray day,

I paused and said, "I will turn back from here.

No, I will go on farther -- and we shall see."

The hard snow held me, save where now and then

One foot went through. The view was all in lines

Straight up and down of tall slim trees

Too much alike to mark or name a place by

So as to say for certain I was here

Or somewhere else: I was just far from home.

A small bird flew before me. He was careful

To put a tree between us when he lighted,

And say no word to tell me who he was

Who was so foolish as to think what he thought.

He thought that I was after him for a feather --

The white one in his tail; like one who takes

Everything said as personal to himself.

One flight out sideways would have undeceived him.

And then there was a pile of wood for which

I forgot him and let his little fear

Carry him off the way I might have gone,

Without so much as wishing him good-night.

He went behind it to make his last stand.

It was a cord of maple, cut and split

And piled -- and measured, four by four by eight.

And not another like it could I see.

No runner tracks in this year's snow looped near it.

And it was older sure than this year's cutting,

Or even last year's or the year's before.

The wood was gray and the bark warping off it

And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis

Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle.

What held it though on one side was a tree

Still growing, and on one a stake and prop,

These latter about to fall. I thought that only

Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks

Could so forget his handiwork on which

He spent himself, the labor of his ax,

And leave it there far from a useful fireplace

To warm the frozen swamp as best it could

With the slow smokeless burning of decay.


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

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I think its about the man reflecting on his life. Its been bleak and dreary, and much of it was the same. He has thought about turning back, perhaps turning towards death, but instead moves on in life and even though he has stumbled and the ground gave way a few times, he has still made it through. Despite this though he hasn't made much of an impact on the world though, for there's nothing "to say as for certain I was here or someplace else". He sees himself in the wood pile: old, decaying, ready to fall. Since Frost was interested in Christianity, it seems like that's reflected in the description of the woodpile. On one end there's a tree that still grows and holds the pile up, while on the other the stake is decaying and wont hold for much longer. The tree represents eternity or his faith while the stake and prop represents life on earth or the temptations of the flesh, and the woodpile inbetween is his life. The woodcutter is no where to be found, either forgetting about his work or being unable to tend to it because he may no longer be around. I feel like this shows perhaps a struggle within Frost wondering if God is real, and if he is has he abandoned humanity(or this guys life) to turn to "fresh tasks" and "forget his handiwork."

| Posted on 2017-02-21 | by a guest

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This poem is clearly a man who's literally losing his shit in the woods, bad trip or smthin like come on man calm your nature titties

| Posted on 2016-04-08 | by a guest

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I think the nature resembles his bollocks covered in curry.

| Posted on 2015-03-10 | by a guest

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I feel that this poem is about the death of nature. The fact that he makes himself carry on shows that humanity needs to see and realise what is happening. Because the bird fears him, it shows that humans are the cause of the death. The White feather in the birds tail could represent the bird surrendering to the human race. 'Without so much of wishing him a good night' could show the lack of care that humans are showing towards nature.

| Posted on 2015-01-18 | by a guest

.: :.

"DrarryGirl666xx" Can You Come Back To The Chatroom?? We Need Your Smut, Girl. I Thought You Might See This Because You Are Into Linterature.(Gr8 Poem - Loving "Bird"!)

| Posted on 2013-10-23 | by a guest

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The poem is obviously about a man who sees a rotting pile of wood. The symbolism is exquisite; Frost has crafted this poem in such a way that the word 'decay' sends shivers down the spines of its entire readership. The bird is a metaphor for the textile industry; this can be seen from 'feather'. It is a cutting critique of Thatcherism.

| Posted on 2013-10-23 | by a guest

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I think that this poem shows Frost\'s opinion on the purposeless of war, the structure in the trees is equivalent to the structured artillery and soldiers who fought in WW1 and WW2. The \"cord of maple cut and split\" who are \"far from a useful fireplace\" represent the death of many young useful men who died fighting. The senseless cutting down of trees mirrors the senseless killing of young lives. The bird represents life which juxtaposes the desolate \"frozen swamp\" and \"decay\" of the wood. The setting of winter also has connotations of death. In many respects the white feather \"in his tail\" may establish the tempting route to surrender, as white flags in war often symbolise this. But the narrator \"forgot\" about the bird who made his \"last stand\". Instead of surrender, the decision has been made to continue with the battle, and the ominous denotation of the word \"last\" recognises that death is prevalent.

| Posted on 2013-01-11 | by a guest

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This poem is about being steadfast about what you hope to achieve. The \"frozen swap\" presents a bleak gloomy moment of hopelessness. The line \"go on farther-and we shall see\" is encouraging the person to not give up but to press forward. \"I was just far from home\" he is far away from achieving the goal more needs to be done. The \"bird\" represents obstacles and whatever else would want to distract you from your goal. The woodpile represents the accomplished goal.\"And then there was a pile of wood for which I forgot him and let his little fear Carry him off the way I might have gone, Without so much as wishing him good-night\" suggesting that he saw something that tells him to go on and not to follow the distractor \"bird\" for it didn\'t even wish him good luck. \"he went behind it to see his last stand\" suggesting he has achieve it and thus he is rewarded, “It was a cord of maple, cut and split And piled -- and measured, four by four by eight. And not another like it could I see.\" he went to say that no one has ever been successful but for years it stood waiting others are laboring to achieve as he mentions \"the labor of his axe\" and this hard work will allow him/her to achieve it.

| Posted on 2012-11-29 | by a guest

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It is about humans and nature. The stake and the prop is natural resources and the woodpile is society and because we are using nature up, it is soon going to collapse. Frost uses anthropomorphism for the bird, as he shows him as if it is his \"last stand\". he also wonders how humanity can spend so much time creating a structured order only to abandon it.

| Posted on 2011-04-03 | by a guest

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the narrator is walking in the damn woods all lost, in need of a freakin navigator & he as like a.d.d or something cause he was all amused by the bird then he sees wood & he forgets bbout the bird. wtf is this?! who the heck cares bout WOOD or BIRDS or what wood looks like.

| Posted on 2011-02-28 | by a guest

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i agree with ruth, ireland. i believe the poem is about death. talking about how the woodpile is old and grey just like the man. frost had lost all of his kids and wife to death and i thinkmthis poem had resembled his life and how it has been touched by death. it resembles how it will be his time sooner or later and how he is not afraid to accept it and not turn back. i believe the bird leads him to believe that he is walking to his death and that the white tail feather is telling him to surrender and turn back. but he doesnt. attaboy. ;)

| Posted on 2010-05-22 | by a guest

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It is basically about our need for order and structure in our world. Nature cannot provide this order to our lives, we can only feel oriented among human structures. In the woods, the narrator is lost wandering among the trees that all look the same - there are no landmarks, except that he knows he is far from home (a human structure). There is an order to the nature that surrounds him (the trees “straight up and down”) and yet he is utterly confused by and lost in it. Even the bird, a sign of life amongst the stillness, is alienating. And then the narrator comes across the wood-pile. It is very well-made, but old and decaying, and the narrator imagines that only someone who enjoyed ordering the world around him could have spent so much effort in creating something without any practical use - the pile is far from any fireplace and is left to merely decay back into the earth where it came from. The meaning in the world around him is lost, but what remains and what orients us is structure.
This idea of structure left behind when meaning is lost is very prevalent amongst Modernist literature, including Gertrude Stein's "Tender Buttons", and the art of the time including the Cubism of Pablo Picasso. As much as we like to think of Frost as a folksy American poet, he was actually quite current to his time even though he held on to traditional subjects and form.

| Posted on 2010-03-25 | by a guest

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Its about Robert Frost eating cake =D.

| Posted on 2009-12-02 | by a guest

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the narrator went through a walk in the woods. he's not lost he's simply " far from home." he's not sure where he's going but that doesnt really matter. he's alone in the swamp where he meets a bird and the narrator is a bit paranoid thinking the bird probably suspects him of wanting his feather. he actually sounds a bit bitter to me. then he sees the wood pile and forgets all about the bird. the wood piles is just there untouched and perfect. it's forgotten and has been there long. and nature is reclaiming it. i think the last 3 lines are really beautiful. so yup that's what i got from it xD

| Posted on 2009-12-01 | by a guest

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he feels unsafe in nature and lost. He believes he has found himself in line 17 but when he realizes that there are no footprints and the woodpile appears to be older than a year he realizes he is yet again lost. and then he commments on the way nature reabsorbs the woodpile and how mankind tries to destroy or alter nature and nature always prevails

| Posted on 2009-09-27 | by a guest

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Around a solem wood,
lies the remnants of the battle.
Of mighty king
and battered soldier.
The forgotten chapter in
the book of legend.
Trample the bodies and ruins,
the proud horse leads the knight.
Fancy a broken dagger
to the end of time.

| Posted on 2009-05-27 | by a guest

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I think that before Frost was walking to search for meaning in life...and when he say how the woodcutter was able to move onto new tasks, Frost realised that he too must move on and return to his responsibilites.

| Posted on 2008-10-08 | by a guest

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i think its about death. at the beginnig he says how he might turn back, but decides to walk on and see where he go's. i think that walkiin back would have given him life whereas walkin on he is walkin towards his death? he describes how the tree was old and grey, mabye he was old and grey. The fact that there is no stanzas in the poem, making it seem longer, symbolise how long his life was.
ruth, ireland

| Posted on 2008-09-18 | by a guest

.: Analysis :.

Basically he is just describing nature then comes across this wood pile that he feels has gone to waste. thats all i got out of it. how the heck am i going to write a 2 page poem analysis on this!!

| Posted on 2008-05-14 | by a guest

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