For Once Then Something : by Robert Frost || Analysis

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For Once, Then, Something

Others taught me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths--and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.

Others taught me with having knelt at well-curbs Always wrong to the light, so never seeing Deeper down in the well than where the water Gives me back in a shining surface picture Me myself in the summer heaven godlike Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
For Once, Then, Something

Analysis

Introduction:

       The poem For Once Then Something is from New Hampshire. It may be considered as a dramatic lyric recording an incident which pleased Frost. The poem deals with the question of ultimate meanings in human experience. Human reach of utmost experience to obtain is the main concern in the poem. The poet allow to intensify the question of highest experience in human concern.

Development of Thought:

      The persona of the poem has been ridiculed as an egocentric who sees the absolute being as the reflection of himself in the water of the well he gazes into. He has tried to look below the surface of the water (beneath the surface of human experience perhaps). But he has hindered himself by taking a position "always wrong to the light". Once, however, he thought he had seen something deeper, white, uncertain in the well, beyond his own image. But that was a visionary flash soon gone. Truth may be at the bottom of a well, according to Democritus, but Frost indicates the limitations of human comprehension of 'Truth' or the ultimate reality. Deeper level of human experience try to be touched or explore throughout the mystical nature.

      In For Once, Then, Something the speaker sees something at the bottom of a well but, before he could discover what the something was, the water is disturbed and that something is blotted out of his sight. Perhaps he had caught sight of a hidden mystery. This is symbolic of higher intelligence dawning in human mind like a flash. It also symbolises the evasive nature of truth.

Critical Remarks:

      In this irregular and unrhymed sonnet-like poem, Frost gives metaphorical overtones to the ordinary rural pastime of trying to look at the bottom of a well through the water. The difference between ordinary sight and vision is hinted at. Reality is something more than physical, but man cannot arrive at it so easily. Frost is a realist who accepts the mystery of life. In exploring the experience, its very necessary to seek company of mysterious element.

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