Love Themes : in Robert Frost Poetry

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      Frost Once said that His Poems were Love Poems: Indeed, Frost's poems exhibit many levels of love, love of the human beings for the natural world and animal, love between man and woman, love for work. But in many cases, the love for natural objects such as flowers becomes a symbol of love between man and woman. The brook of Hyla Brook concludes with a line which nicely defines the way to love:

We love the things we love for what they are.
One of Frost's Major Concerns is Love between Man and Woman: Seeing the universe as vast and impersonal, Frost felt all the more keenly man's isolation. Human beings have to find comfort in one another. While man is able to face solitude and come to terms with it in his own small way, Frost's women characters are lost without love. Once the love between the woman and the man breaks down or fades off or is unfulfilled, the woman goes insane or reaches a state which is just as good as death. The Hill Wife and Home Burial illustrate this well.
Robert Frost

      One of Frost's Major Concerns is Love between Man and Woman: Seeing the universe as vast and impersonal, Robert Frost felt all the more keenly man's isolation. Human beings have to find comfort in one another. While man is able to face solitude and come to terms with it in his own small way, Frost's women characters are lost without love. Once the love between the woman and the man breaks down or fades off or is unfulfilled, the woman goes insane or reaches a state which is just as good as death. The Hill Wife and Home Burial illustrate this well.

      Frost's Concept of Love governs and affects his poetic endeavours to a great extent, as George Nitchie says. Frost depicts the relationship between two lovers as definitive to the "entire poetic universe". Manhood is associated with pride and arrogance. Can man show his love for a woman without these very qualities and still remain a man ? In his poems Frost tries to find an answer to this question posed by love.

      Frost's Love is Never Overt or Sentimental and Over-passionate: Through the technique of pastoral imagery he expresses the true, essential and deep realism of passion. Frost deals little with youthful passion; he generally treats of wedded love or love tossed upon the current of a complex life. Love in the context of wider problems is what concerns Frost. "Love, to Frost, was something to be perpetually believed into existence". The delightful West-Running Brook illustrates his nature of love. The young couple in the poem with their differences is symbolised by the brook. Contraries and oppositions, the love-hate relationship have great significance in a happy married life. Frost considers Love to be the justification, the unifying and redeeming principle in the sinister and tragic tides of life.

      Married Love is Focussed on in Frost's Poems: The country man and wife appear together in several of Frost's poems. Love and a Question tells or a young country man and his bride and a stranger who passed by their house at night. The poem has a beautiful description of the young bride awaiting her husband in their room, her face lighted up by the soft glow of anticipated fulfilment of love. We see Frost's unsentimental but effective handling of love. Married love appears often in Frost's poems as a sort of polar metaphor to the metaphor of loneliness and isolation. When the bond of love breaks down, fear and desolation takes over.

      Frost Deals with a Love which is not so Idyllic in A Servant to Servants. This is a poem about the intolerable disappointment in love causing madness. A lighter treatment of love is made in Paul's Wife. In The Housekeeper, we see Frost's upholding married love. The procrastinating lover who could not make up his mind to marry the woman is rejected as against the man who is not late in taking the decision and readily offers to marry her. In The Fear, Frost shows his psychological understanding of a woman's point of view. She has deserted her husband for another man and fears that the deserted man will come in search for her. The other man fails to understand the fear.

      Love is All Pervasive: Man cannot live in society untouched by love. Even in the natural and animal world, love finds sway - the mother cow is described as lovingly licking the calf standing beside it in The Pasture. Love and need must be one, says Frost regarding work in Two Tramps in Mud Time.

      Frost's Treatment of Love is Unique, Fresh and Inventive: His language is powerful when he speaks of frustration, loneliness and fear of love-the dominant emotional currents of his times. He gives a delicate and tender touch to the treatment of married love and loving friendship. Frost gives due importance to variations in the man-woman relationship. In these variations and disagreements is the lasting happiness of love to be realized. Man and woman can learn to be happy with one another when they understand the art of associating their sentiments with nature and making compromises. Compromise is not an act of defeat, but a realistic approach to problems.

      As a poet endowed with keen observation, Frost describes the decadence of love in America. Most Americans take to love as a lovers' mixed blessing. They find love unmoving and, therefore, they need to do something to get more charm out of it. It does not work itself. It takes birth as a repercussion of a compromise between heart's desires and reason. The encounter of difficulties in the mutual relationships of lovers is not an unusual one in Frost. Variations and contradictions between Frostian characters is often the product of failure in understanding each other. In a poem called The Investment he suggests:

Not to sink under being man and wife
But to get some color and music out of life?

      Love Themes and Love Imagery are scattered in the work of Robert Frost. From time to time, he had to experience great loneliness and sorrow. The poet endeavours to triumph over the powers of darkness in his love poems. Love themes and love imagery are inherent in his poetry. His verse vacillates between the divergent polar attractions of fire and water imagery, light and darkness and moments of joy and sorrow. The structural expansion and contraction of his imagery and his promotion and suppression of human and emotional content in poetry only reflect the antithetical structure of his own personality - his endless struggle with positive and negative powers of existence.

      Conclusion: Frost's attitude to love was ambivalent. He focuses attention upon this theme in a way similar to the great masters, Spenser, Shakespeare, Wyatt and Surrey. Frost's love poems contain the truth of life and beauty of imagination. He teaches us to accept the challenge of life and love with boldness. "Earth's the fight place for love", he says in Birches, Man and woman are pictured with all their agreements and resentments. Perfect love can only be found between man and woman, and in this love can humanity find the strength to grow towards the cherished goal. Frost's treatment of love is marked by delicate reticence. He does not treat love as a transcendental phenomenon embracing the whole universe and turning things beautiful. Nor do we see in his poetry the rarefied passion of Shelley or the sensuousness of Keats. He treats love in a homely way; his love is marked with the human sympathy of Hopkins and Davies.

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