Robert Frost is one of the most known and loved American poets. Almost everyone has heard at least one of his poems, maybe even three or four. Did Robert Frost just get lucky, or is there something truly brilliant about his poetry?
Of course there is some level of luck in any success, but Frost also wrote some of the greatest poems in the English language. Here are five reasons why Robert Frost is my favorite poet.
1. Frost balances the fine line between poetic rhythm and conversational rhythm.
A poem written with a regular form of poetic meter (a recurring pattern of rhythm in each line of a poem) sounds great, but does not always sound like our normal conversation. Robert Frost wrote with excellent poetic rhythm, but at the same time made his poems sound like ordinary conversation. Frost’s poem titled A Patch of Old Snow is a good example of this. Notice how the poem is presented as if Frost is our neighbor or friend, and we are just having a chat. Yet he also writes with rhyme and meter.
A Patch of Old Snow
There’s a patch of old snow in a corner
That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain
Had brought to rest.
It is speckled with grime as if
Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I’ve forgotten—
If I ever read it.
2. He has fun!
Robert Frost is not afraid to add humor as an ingredient in his poetry. It’s the main ingredient in a few of his poems. Of course, he always keeps his form which can make him seem a bit stiff next to modern free verse poets like Charles Bukowski or even William Carlos Williams. The truth is, Frost covers many aspects of being human including fun. He even makes himself the butt of the joke at times, like in his poem Dust of Snow.
Dust of Snow
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
3. He shows us beauty.
Experiencing beauty is something that makes us human. It’s an important part of human nature. It makes life better! Robert Frost is great at sharing the beauty of the world around him with us through his poetry. Birches is a popular Robert Frost poem that really shows us the beauty that Frost sees in Birch trees. Even just the first few lines of the poem present us with awe-inspiring imagery.
When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
4. He is full of wisdom.
Knowing how to navigate life, being able to accept mystery, understanding the ways of the world, Robert Frost is like an old sage sharing his wisdom in a fun, beautiful, and conversational way. In his poem A Time to Talk, Frost stresses the importance of taking a break from the day’s work to have a conversation with a friend.
A Time to Talk
When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, “What is it?”
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.
5. He’s existential yet he’s so accessible.
Robert Frost is easy to understand and his poems can be read through quickly, but the reader can also read the same poem again and again and continue to find depth and meaning. See what meaning and enjoyment you can find in his poem House Fear.
Always–I tell you this they learned–
Always at night when they returned
To the lonely house from far away
To lamps unlighted and fire gone gray,
They learned to rattle the lock and key
To give whatever might chance to be
Warning and time to be off in flight:
And preferring the out- to the in-door night,
They learned to leave the house-door wide
Until they had lit the lamp inside.