A Considerable Speck : by Robert Frost || Analysis

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A Considerable Speck

(Microscopic)

A speck that would have been beneath my sight
On any but a paper sheet so white
Set off across what I had written there.
And I had idly poised my pen in air
To stop it with a period of ink
When something strange about it made me think,
This was no dust speck by my breathing blown,
But unmistakably a living mite
With inclinations it could call its own.
It paused as with suspicion of my pen,
And then came racing wildly on again
To where my manuscript was not yet dry;
Then paused again and either drank or smelt--
With loathing, for again it turned to fly.
Plainly with an intelligence I dealt.
It seemed too tiny to have room for feet,
Yet must have had a set of them complete
To express how much it didn't want to die.
It ran with terror and with cunning crept.
It faltered: I could see it hesitate;
Then in the middle of the open sheet
Cower down in desperation to accept
Whatever I accorded it of fate.
I have none of the tenderer-than-thou
Collectivistic regimenting love
With which the modern world is being swept.
But this poor microscopic item now!
Since it was nothing I knew evil of
I let it lie there till I hope it slept.
I have a mind myself and recognize
Mind when I meet with it in any guise
No one can know how glad I am to find
On any sheet the least display of mind.

A speck that would have been beneath my sight On any but a paper sheet so white Set off across what I had written there. And I had idly poised my pen in air To stop it with a period of ink When something strange about it made me think, This was no dust speck by my breathing blown, But unmistakably a living mite With inclinations it could call its own.
A Considerable Speck

Analysis

Introduction:

      A Considerable Speck is a witty poem, poking fun at the mindless and unthinking people who are too dull to act or to reflect is from A Witness Tree.

Development of Thought:

      Speaking of a living mile which he sees on a while sheet of paper, the poet opines that the mite seems to have inclinations which it can cal its own. Smelling the wet ink, and tasting it with some distaste, it runs about in terror and with some cunning to avoid the writer's pen, for it has no desire to die. The poet refrains from killing it, not because of any belief in "collectivistic regimenting love", but because he appreciates the mite for being intelligent. He feels glad to find "on any sheet the least display of mind". So he allows the mite to lie on the paper until, he hoped, it slept.

Critical Remarks:

      A mere mite with intelligence is to be preferred to a human being who is a dullard. The poem is a satire on dullards. Frost does not indiscriminately accept all human beings irrespective of their intelligence. In this poem, we see Frost's ability to turn a trivial thing into an occasion of significance - here a reflection on intelligence.

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