Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Meaning of A Boundless Moment by Robert Frost

A Boundless Moment by Robert Frost

He halted in the wind, and — what was that
Far in the maples, pale, but not a ghost?
He stood there bringing March against his thought, And yet too ready to believe the most.

"Oh, that's the Paradise-in-bloom," I said;
And truly it was fair enough for flowers
had we but in us to assume in march
Such white luxuriance of May for ours.

We stood a moment so in a strange world,
Myself as one his own pretense deceives;
And then I said the truth (and we moved on).
A young beech clinging to its last year's leaves.

The poem is one of seasons changing and the cycle of life. Each May the bloom comes out and brings life to the death of winter. The poem is about a single moment when the characters see that life has changed. The layers of meaning can be deep but on the surface it appears Robert Frost is discussing nature and its cyclical momentum.  Everything in nature moves through patterns.

The poem indicates that he is walking with someone. The pastoral beauty of nature has caught their eye and they pause for just a moment. They gaze into nature and its ever changing existence-a paradise of bloom. The author discusses a piece of truth to his companion and both move on. He feels as though he is in a strange world where pretenses fail our human understanding of our place within it all.

In the last sentence we see a comment about a young beech clinging to its last year’s leaves. It is possible to see this as how we always cling to what was before and fail to embrace the new. No matter how much we cling to the past change sweeps up us all. We can’t live in the past. The tree with a single leaf could be a metaphor for how we try and maintain our youth and past, but life will make it all fall away. Humans and nature are part of the very same existence.

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