16 The Oven Bird Looks like There is a singer everyone has heard, Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.He says that leaves are old and that for flowersMid-summer is to spring as one to ten.He says the early petal-fall is past,When pear and cherry-bloom went down in showersOn sunny days a moment overcast;And comes that other fall we name the fall.He says the highway dust is over all.The bird would cease and be as other birdsBut that he knows in singing not to sing.The question that he frames in all but wordsIs what to make of a diminished thing.flowersBirdsTree trunksleavesPear and cherry bloomSingingLoudsoundlossProudSounds LikeFeels LikeUsing this Y chart discuss the poem as a class
17 StructureWhat is the rhyme scheme for this poem and what type of poem is it?There is a singer everyone has heard, Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird, Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again. He says that leaves are old and that for flowers Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten. He says the early petal-fall is past, When pear and cherry-bloom went down in showers On sunny days a moment overcast; And comes that other fall we name the fall. He says the highway dust is over all. The bird would cease and be as other birds But that he knows in singing not to sing. The question that he frames in all but words Is what to make of a diminished thing.aThe Oven Bird has 14 lines so it is called a Sonnet.A sonnet is traditionally a love poem so The Oven Bird could represent Robert Frost’s love for writing poetry.Robert Frost uses iambic pentameter (9-11 syllables in each line) which is suggestive of the cycles in nature.In a sonnet there are two parts; the sestet and the octave.The sestet, lines 1-8, is all about nature and it’s cycles. So he is talking about the change in seasons from Spring to Summer.The ninth line in this poem is called a turn/volta which signals the move from proposition to resolution. This represents the beginning of autumn.The rest of the poem is called the octave which has a sense of decline and also has a symbolic meaning of death.abcbdcdeefgfg
18 LanguageThere is a singer everyone has heard, Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird, Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again. He says that leaves are old and that for flowers Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten. He says the early petal-fall is past, When pear and cherry-bloom went down in showers On sunny days a moment overcast; And comes that other fall we name the fall. He says the highway dust is over all. The bird would cease and be as other birds But that he knows in singing not to sing. The question that he frames in all but words Is what to make of a diminished thing.Alliteration is used in line three –s, d, t sounds are repeated many times. It is effective because you have to make lots of different sounds with your mouth when you read it aloud which emphasises what is said in this line – “tree trunks sound again.”Repetition-”he says” is repeated three times, so it is like a message being insistently delivered; he is declaring something. “he knows,” “he frames” are used in the poem; this makes you feel like the bird has human characteristics-it thinks with a complex mind and stands out from others because it is a unique bird.
19 Language and ThemesWhat themes do you think are suggested and what language techniques emphasise these ideas?The metaphor of the whole poem is that life is a journey along a highway and that progress through life can be compared to the changing of the seasons. The poem also metaphorically links songbirds with poets and Robert Frost is a singer of the same sort as the oven bird, one “who knows in singing not to sing.”The oven bird’s song can be heard in “mid-summer” which symbolises the midpoint of life’s journey, the peak of growth and maturity. The “mid-wood” is full of lush foliage rich with but the oven bird is not celebrating all the evidence of life in spring as most songbirds do, it waits for summer to “make the solid tree trunks sound again.” It knows that the beautiful surface of life needs to be understood in a different and far less comforting way.The oven bird’s song tells us that “mid-summer is to spring as one to ten” meaning that the beauty of spring flowers is almost gone by mid-summer. The symbolism of this is that life is already half over by the time we reach our peak of maturity, so that no matter how full life seems at that point, it is "a diminished thing.”
20 Language and Themes continued... "That other fall we name the fall," the season of autumn, comes after the rich harvest of late summer's fruit, but it means that the year is decaying and dying into winter.The oven bird says there is no way to escape the certainty of loss and mortality, for "the highway dust is over all." By "mid-summer," halfway through the progress of the seasons (or the progress of life), the freshness of spring has already been dulled and soiled by the dust that is built up along someone's journey. This bird "knows in singing not to sing,“ not to be like other birds and celebrate only the best times in life. Instead he sings in summer to ask important, challenging questions. In this poem Robert Frost uses his poetry not to sing of love or of life's apparent interests, but to complete the job the oven bird has begun. The question that the oven bird "frames in all but words,” the poet does frame in words: "what to make of a diminished thing."So basically the moral of the poem is that we should make the most we possibly can of the "diminished thing" that life always is, at every point along its way.
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