For Robert Frost, poetry and life
were one and the same. In an interview he said, 'One thing I care about,
and wish young people could care about, is taking poetry as the first form
of understanding.' Each Robert Frost poem strikes a chord somewhere, each
poem bringing us closer to life with the compression of feeling and
emotion into so few words. This essay will focus on one particular poem,
the meaning of which has been much debated due to the quantity of words
used, or the lack there-of.
There have been many readers of Frost's poem "Fire and Ice", thus
being interpreted in many ways. Many readers would interpret the poem to
mean something about 'the physical end of the world, or the end of the
physical world' (1). Lawrence Thompson views the poem as hinting at the
destructive powers in "the heat of love or passion and the cold of hate,"
sensing that "these two extremes are made so to encompass life as to be a
gathering up of all that may exist between them; all that may be swept
away by them" (2).
Upon closer examination of "Fire and Ice", I found a distinct
parallel that closely mirrors the tale of Dante's Inferno. The Inferno is
the first part of Dante Alighieri's poem, the Divine Comedy, which
chronicles Dante's journey to God, and is made up of The Inferno (Hell),
Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Paradise). In The Inferno, Dante
begins his journey on the surface of the Earth, guided by the Ro...
... middle of paper ...
.... Much later, and in what I think is
'a veiled tribute to Robert Frost', John Ciardi translates these lines
I come to lead you to the other shore,
into eternal dark, into fire and ice. (3.83-84)
http://www.epcc.edu/Faculty/joeo/fire_scientific.htm. Online. Netscape
Navigator. Feb. 4, 2001.
Thompson, Lawrance. Fire and Ice: The Art and Thought of Robert Frost.
New York: Henry Holt, 1942.
Dante Alighieri. The Inferno. Trans John Ciardi. New York: Mentor, 1954.
Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Vols. 9-11.
Trans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
http://www.divinecomedy.org. Online. Netscape Navigator. Feb. 5,
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