Good-Bye, And Keep Cold: Poem - Summary & Analysis

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Good-Bye, And Keep Cold

This saying good-bye on the edge of the dark
And cold to an orchard so young in the bark
Reminds me of all that can happen to harm
An orchard away at the end of the farm
All winter, cut off by a hill from the house.
I don't want it girdled by rabbit and mouse,
I don't want it dreamily nibbled for browse
By deer, and I don't want it budded by grouse.
(If certain it wouldn't be idle to call
I'd summon grouse, rabbit, and deer to the wall
And warn them away with a stick for a gun.)
I don't want it stirred by the heat of the sun.
(We made it secure against being, I hope,
By setting it out on a northerly slope.)
No orchard's the worse for the wintriest storm;
But one thing about it, it mustn't get warm.
"How often already you've had to be told,
Keep cold, young orchard. Good-bye and keep cold.
Dread fifty above more than fifty below."
I have to be gone for a season or so.
My business awhile is with different trees,
Less carefully nourished, less fruitful than these,
And such as is done to their wood with an axe--
Maples and birches and tamaracks.
I wish I could promise to lie in the night
And think of an orchard's arboreal plight
When slowly (and nobody comes with a light)
Its heart sinks lower under the sod.
But something has to be left to God.

This saying good-bye on the edge of the dark And cold to an orchard so young in the bark Reminds me of all that can happen to harm An orchard away at the end of the farm All winter, cut off by a hill from the house.
Good-Bye, And Keep Cold

Summary and Analysis


      In the poem Good-Bye, And Keep Cold by Robert Frost, the poet former bidding goodbye to his young orchard. He is going away for the winter season and is apprehensive of leaving the orchard in view of the looming dangers that may farm his orchard in his absence. It is dark and cold and there will be no one in his absence to take care of his orchard. So the poet is mentally preparing the orchard how to bravely find itself against any possible harm.

      The orchard is situated at the end of the farm and his cut off from the house by the hill. The poet farmer does not the orchard to be surrounded by rabbits and mice who may cause harm by making burrows. The deers can also harm the orchard by nibbling the young leaves. Even the grouse can nip the buds of the orchards. The poet does not want all this harm to his orchard. Here in a humorous vein, he says that had it been possible we would have certainly called grouse, rabbits and mouse to stand by the wall and fairly warn them not to harm his orchard, threatening them with a stick, as if it were a gun.

      Further, in the same humourous and bantering tone, he warns the orchard not to get warm in his absence. The poet has deliberately chosen to plant it on the northern slope of hill to protect the plants from the scorching heat of sun. The heat is worse to the orchard as it causes more havoc than even the wintriest storm. The poet, while bidding goodbye to the orchard advice it again and again to keep cold which is very important for its health.

      The young orchard is to be protected against both heavenly as well as earthly calamities. Thus it has as much to fear from the earth as from the sky. The natural calamities like sun heat, storms and birds can cause harm to the orchard as the same way as the deer, mouse, rabbit or grouse. But it has to protect itself more from the heat than from the earthly dangers.

"Dread fifty above more than fifty below"

      The poet farmer tells the orchard that he will be away for the whole season. He has to now tend some other trees like maple, birches and tamaracks which have been Less carefully nurtured because they bear no fruits. He has to cut the woods with an axe. He makes the promise that during this long absence, the will not forget his young orchard and will visualize it state in his mind's eyes, imagining its roots going deeper and deeper into the soil.

      The poet finally bids his young orchard goodbye, leaving it in the hands of God and extracting a promise from the young orchard to bend off all the difficulties bravely in his absence. A man alone cannot plan everything Certain things are best left alone to God as well.

"Good Bye and Keep Cold"

Critical Analysis:

      Frost is mainly a lyrical poet. In the Words of Lawrance Thompson, "this primary artistic achievement rests on his blending of thought and emotion and symbolic imagery within the confines of the lyric. The poem 'Goodbye and keep cold' is a dramatic monologue, in which one can find traces of pastoralism. Underlying the simplicity of Frost's poetic style is a good deal of subtlety. By consciously maintaining a conversational tone, he keeps the texture of his verse remarkably even. One remarkable thing about Frost's treatment of nature is presenting natural objects not as foci for mystical meditation but as things with which and on which man acts in the course of the daily work of gaining a livelihood. The poem 'Goodbye and keep cold is a fine example of this, when he says.

"I have to be gone for a season or so,
My business awhile is with different trees".

      Beneath the light, humorous lyrics, is a deep philosophy. Frost has given expression to philosophic thought in a style that is naturally conversational. He has depicted the harsh realities of the farm life - how the farmers have to brave the adverse elements of nature.

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