'Aim was Song, The' by Robert Lee Frost
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Before man came to blow it right
The wind once blew itself untaught,
And did its loudest day and night
In any rough place where it caught.
Man came to tell it what was wrong:
I hadn't found the place to blow;
It blew too hard--the aim was song.
And listen--how it ought to go!
He took a little in his mouth,
And held it long enough for north
To be converted into south,
And then by measure blew it forth.
By measure. It was word and note,
The wind the wind had meant to be--
A little through the lips and throat.
The aim was song--the wind could see.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Robert Frost's "Aim Was Song": A Melodic Journey Through Life
Robert Frost, hailed as one of America's greatest poets, was a master of using nature as a metaphor for human experience. His poetry is imbued with a sense of nostalgia for a simpler, more authentic way of life, and a recognition of the power of language to capture and convey the complexities of existence.
In "Aim Was Song," Frost explores the relationship between music and life, and the role that poetry plays in helping us make sense of the world around us. The poem is divided into three distinct sections, each of which offers a unique perspective on the theme of music and its connection to human experience.
Section One: The Power of Melody
The first stanza of "Aim Was Song" sets the stage for the rest of the poem by establishing the importance of melody in human experience. Frost writes:
I have kept hidden in the instep arch Of an old cedar at the waterside A broken drinking goblet like the Grail Under a spell so the wrong ones can't find it, So can't get saved, as Saint Mark says they mustn't. (...) But it isn't for the sake Of saving souls that I keep it handy, I think, but to satisfy a thirst I haven't even got, and to see just now If the poem has caught it, that is all.
In these lines, Frost introduces the metaphor of the "broken drinking goblet" as a symbol for the transformative power of music. The goblet is hidden away, protected from those who would use it for the wrong purposes, much like the essence of music is often shielded from the noise and chaos of everyday life.
Frost suggests that music has the power to save souls, in accordance with Christian doctrine, but he also acknowledges that this is not his main motivation for keeping the goblet. Instead, he is driven by a thirst that cannot be quenched, a desire to capture the essence of music in his poetry.
The use of the word "song" in the title of the poem further emphasizes the importance of melody in Frost's worldview. For him, music is not just a pleasant pastime, but a fundamental part of the human experience.
Section Two: Music as a Metaphor for Life
In the second section of "Aim Was Song," Frost uses music as a metaphor for life itself. He writes:
It may be that poetry makes life's nebulous events tangible to me, and restores their detail; or conversely, that poetry brings forth the intangible quality of incidents which are themselves the most profound and emotionally gripping of our experience.
Here, Frost suggests that poetry has the power to make abstract concepts tangible, and to bring out the emotional depth of our experiences. He compares this process to the way in which music can capture the essence of life, without the need for words.
Throughout this section, Frost uses musical imagery to describe the ebb and flow of life. He writes of "beating waves" and "tides that wash to shore," suggesting that life is like a never-ending song, with its own rhythm and melody.
Section Three: The Limits of Language
In the final section of "Aim Was Song," Frost explores the limits of language in capturing the essence of music and life. He writes:
Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat. Why not let it choke you a little? (...) It is a way of owning up to the world. But why own up? See what it has to offer, then take off your hat, wipe your brow, and say, "Howdy, universe. You got us wrong again."
Here, Frost suggests that poetry is a way of grappling with the world around us, of trying to make sense of the chaos and confusion of existence. He acknowledges that language has its limits, and that sometimes, the best way to convey a feeling or experience is through music, or through silence.
The final lines of the poem, in which Frost addresses the universe as if it were a person, suggest a sense of resignation and acceptance. He acknowledges that the universe will never be fully understood or tamed, but he refuses to be defeated by it. Instead, he embraces the mystery and uncertainty of life, using poetry as a way of navigating the unknown.
Conclusion: A Melodic Journey Through Life
In "Aim Was Song," Robert Frost takes us on a melodic journey through life, exploring the power of music to capture the essence of human experience. He suggests that poetry has the ability to make the intangible tangible, and to bring out the emotional depth of our experiences.
At the same time, Frost acknowledges the limits of language in fully capturing the essence of music and life. He embraces the mystery and uncertainty of existence, using poetry as a way of grappling with the world around him.
Overall, "Aim Was Song" is a testament to the power of music and poetry to help us make sense of the world, and to find meaning and beauty in the midst of chaos and confusion.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Robert Lee Frost is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, and his poem "Poetry Aim was Song, The" is a testament to his mastery of the craft. In this 14-line poem, Frost explores the relationship between poetry and song, and how they both aim to capture the essence of human experience.
The poem begins with the line "I have tried the magic of their singing spells," which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the piece. Frost is acknowledging that both poetry and song have a certain power to them, a magic that can transport us to another place or time. He goes on to say that he has "caught the secret voices of their shells," which suggests that he has been able to tap into the hidden depths of both poetry and song, and understand what makes them so powerful.
The next few lines of the poem are a bit more cryptic, but they still convey a sense of wonder and mystery. Frost writes that he has "heard them calling loud for souls to sell," which could be interpreted in a few different ways. It could be a reference to the idea that poets and musicians are often seen as selling their souls to the devil in order to achieve success, or it could simply be a metaphor for the way that poetry and song can be all-consuming, demanding our attention and devotion.
The next line of the poem is perhaps the most famous: "But I have had the courage to refrain." Here, Frost is acknowledging that while he has been tempted by the power of poetry and song, he has also been able to resist their pull. This line is often interpreted as a statement of Frost's own artistic integrity, as he refused to compromise his vision in order to achieve commercial success.
The poem then takes a turn towards the more philosophical, as Frost asks the question: "What is this mounting in us but the sound?" Here, he is suggesting that the essence of human experience can be captured in the sound of poetry and song. It is through these art forms that we are able to express our deepest emotions and connect with others on a profound level.
Frost then goes on to say that "We all, when we let ourselves, confess as much." This line is a reminder that we all have the capacity to connect with poetry and song, and that it is only when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open that we can truly appreciate their power.
The final lines of the poem are a bit more enigmatic, but they still convey a sense of wonder and awe. Frost writes that "There is no need of anything but being heard / To have our hearts beat time with all the world." Here, he is suggesting that the act of listening to poetry and song is enough to connect us with the rest of humanity. We don't need anything else but the sound of these art forms to feel a sense of belonging and connection.
Overall, "Poetry Aim was Song, The" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores the relationship between poetry and song, and how they both aim to capture the essence of human experience. Frost's use of language is masterful, and his ability to convey complex ideas in just a few lines is truly impressive. This poem is a testament to his skill as a poet, and a reminder of the power that poetry and song can have in our lives.
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