2Nature's first green is gold Her hardest hue to hold Nature's first green is gold Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.
3Robert FrostBorn on March 26, He spent the first 12 years of his life in San Francisco.
4His life was filled with tragedy: his father died in 1885 when Robert was just 11his mother died of cancer in 1900In 1920, Frost had to commit his younger sister to a mental hospital, where she died nine years laterHis wife died in 1938His son committed suicide in 1940 at the age of 38two of his 6 children died before the age of 8only 2 of his children outlived him
5It has been said that "Frost's best work explores fundamental questions of existence, depicting with chilling starkness the loneliness of the individual in an indifferent universe."He wrote about how man is alone and frail when compared to the vastness of the universe and how humans are limited.
6This idea of mankind’s isolation, frailty and limitations is clearly expressed in “Nothing Gold can Stay.”It is not surprising that a writer who has been so personally impacted by death chooses to explore the fragility, and brevity, of life in his writing.
7Devices which impact the piece: Rhyme- the poem is written in paired lines. Each pair of lines contains an idea that, when isolated, contributes to the overall theme of the poem that beauty cannot last. The use of rhyme in this way subtly “isolates” each of the ideas into “stages” and contributes to the theme that life has stages. Rhythm- the “beat” created by having 6-7 syllables per line adds a consistent pace to the piece and links the pairs of lines together. The “isolated” ideas presented in each rhyming pair are therefore linked together by using this rhythm. Allusion- by referring to “Eden” the reader is given the association of the idea of “paradise lost”. Frost, in one short line, reminds us of the tale of a land filled with perfection, and beauty, until sin was discovered, and then the beauty was lost. Through the use of allusion, Frost reinforces the idea that this “loss” of beauty is eternal.
8Devices which impact the piece: Metaphor- the first line of “Nature’s first green is gold” compares the beginning of life (when someone/something is “green” it is new) with something that is of great value and beauty. This sets up the theme of the poem which is that life starts off full of beauty, but that beauty will not last. The line “So dawn goes down to day” is also a metaphor comparing the passing of time during a day with the passing of a lifetime. This reinforces the idea that time stops for no one and we are all mortal. Alliteration- the 2nd line contains repetition of the soft “h” sound. This is a pleasing, soft sound that Frost uses to “soften up” the reader to the idea of lost beauty. He suggests in the line that while beauty is hard to hold, it just might last…there is a tiny glimmer of hope here and the soft “h” sound gently presents this hope. In contrast, the 7th line contains a repetition of the hard “D” sound which hammers home the harsh reality that we are all destined to lose our beauty/we are mortal. The harsh sound of the “D” pounds home this point.
9How the poem “speaks to me” When I was first exposed to this poem, I saw it as a depressing and bleak look at man’s mortality. I liked it though.It spoke to me because WE ARE mortal. WE DO lose our beauty (and I see the beauty presented in this poem as our physical beauty, our overall strength and health, as well as our innocence).I see this loss of “beauty” in myself as I age and cannot do the same things I could when I was young. I see this loss of “beauty” every time I look in the mirror and find another gray hair or wrinkle. I see this most vividly in my sister whose life has been stolen by MS.
10While the poem can be said to be dreary, I have over the years come to see this poem in a positive light.I see it as a reminder that I need to appreciate life. I need to embrace each day because it won’t last.The birth of my children (who are still “gold” and have not been tainted by age, or experiences that have stolen their innocence) changed my perspective on what is important in life.Though I still enjoy a lazy day doing “nothing”, I see the value of each day in a new way. I need to live life and enjoy the moments, because “dawn goes down to day” and “nothing gold can stay.”
11Nature's first green is gold Her hardest hue to hold Nature's first green is gold Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.