Poetic and Pictorial Considerations for the Understanding of Frost's Birches

Poetic and Pictorial Considerations for the Understanding of Frost's Birches

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The first word that may appear into a reader's mind when dealing with Robert Frost's "Birches" is remembrance. Every picture in the poem supports the word: the child playing with the Birch, the swinging movements that goes back and forward, the snow painting the trees deeply white. "Birches" is an extremely pictorial poem. Its images are of a profound emotion.

There is a fact that can not be omitted: the year 1914, time in which the poem was written; World War I. Though that fact won't be taken much into consideration, so as to make the interpretation in a more personal approach, it is noticeable that by not leaving that year aside, the poem grows beautifully stronger; not only because the remembrance before mentioned takes a deep air of nostalgia, but because the complete image given by the poem also takes another connotation.

If a closer look is taken at the artists that were developing in that year, we find Chagall, Juan Gris and John Heartfield, father of the photomontage. These artists usually present in their works, images (sometimes agglomeration of them) that have to be represented by drawing a line between what is actually shown and what is subconsciously implied. With "Birches", Robert Frost proposes a different look when it comes to art. He is giving the focus of aesthetical contemplation back to nature. He is making his readers realize that the pictures he is portraying are due to his concentred observation of what takes him back to his childhood; what takes him out of the world of doom, and what is important, he is revealing those same figures through his poem.

If we take a glimpse to "Birches" metric structure, the iambic foot will show itself as the predominate one:

When I see Birches bend to left a...


... middle of paper ...


...at age, but on the other hand, there is a sexual tone which is hard not to take into consideration.

Sounds inside the poem are highly relevant for the pictures to be conformed. Onomatopoeia is a fine source to complete the pictures or, even more, to fill them with life. We can find examples in verse 8:

The Breeze rises... simulating the breeze.

Verse 9:

Cracks and crazes... simulating the crack.

Frost's poem has such a beauty that no one, no matter what his or her cultural background is can avoid. The play with time, nostalgia, fear and hope, plus a strong use of images elevates this poem to an intimate level. This becomes an invitation for ourselves to play with the same euphoria as that kid, to look for our own birches in every corner of our memory, and forget, for a little while, about whatever aches our soul. Swing in order to be happy.

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