The Pasture : by Robert Frost || Analysis

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The Pasture

I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I shan't be gone long. -- You come too.

I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I shan't be gone long. -- You come too.

I'm going out to clean the pasture spring; I'll only stop to rake the leaves away (And wait to watch the water clear, I may): I shan't be gone long. -- You come too.
The Pasture

Introduction:

      The Pasture was used by Robert Frost as a dedication to each of his volumes of verse (except the last). It alludes to the chores of the farmer and relates the routine errands to feelings of love and joy.

Development of Thought:

      The speaker refers to the chores of cleaning the pasture spring and clearing off the leaves with the rake. He "may" wait to watch the clear water - suggesting anticipated pleasure and contemplation. In a Frost poem, contemplation and observation are linked. The speaker invites his listener to go along and share the pleasures of the actions which would not take long: "I shan't be gone long. You come too." Another pastoral chore - that of fetching the calf standing by the mother - is mentioned in the second stanza. It evokes the sense of the filial bond, and brings home Frost's love of the created world.

Critical Remarks:

      Reuben A. Brower calls the poem one in which "the love of things and persons is pure and complete, though characteristically pragmatic". The poem is appropriate from the pen of Frost, the "country poet". While showing sympathy for natural objects, Frost, however, keeps man and nature distinct. Action is stressed and not of romantic exhilaration. The style is concentrated; speech rhythms are effectively fused with musical and dramatic notes. A simple subject gains significance, the ordinary is transformed into art.

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