Nature in the Grass by Carl Sandburg and Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Categories: Poems

There are a lot of writers who write about the nature. Nature is an endless treasury of symbolism, allegory, and it can surely inspire poets to use those tools to describe their feelings or to bring their messages to humanity. I would like to examine two short poems and to see how each author uses nature as a tool in his work.

Robert Frost's poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay", is different. He sees he nature as a shelter, where we can hide from the tough, depressing reality.

Frost spend a lot of lifetime traveling in the country, and he felt passion towards the untouched nature of the village. The structure of the poem is very harmonic. It has a clear rhythm, it rhymes ("leaf-grief, flower-hour" etc.), and there are a lot of colorful, rich expressions and definitions. Frost admires natures "first green is gold", it looks like an allegory to a birth of the new life. Then the whole life passes through this short poem.

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By the end of the poem "nothing gold can stay", which means: life has passed and very quickly, "but only so an hour"(Frost). The mood of the poem is different from the Sandburg's one. It is very warm, elegiac, it is full of nostalgia. The poem is not complicated, it is read very easy, and looks very natural. The author did want it to be understood by simply people, not only intellectuals or literature critics. He only expressed his feelings through this poem, and did it in a very simple, pleasant way, like the old, classic poets did, and succeeded to touch readers' hearts.

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The first one is "Grass" by Carl Sandburg. This is a poem about the evil of the war. It is told from a nature's point of view, the grass is who is speaking. It is very symbolic the nature is seen like a mother, who covers all what her bad children had done. She cries, but full of tears still does her job.

The poem was written in 1918, the last year of World War One. People were devastated , the general mood of the society, tired of War, was very pessimistic. The structure of the poem reflects the situation after the war- the total mental devastation and destruction of the ordinary people. It has neither rhythm, nor rhyme, it looks like a short conversation piece, but it's content is very poetic. The poem is simple, but it is well understood by both intellectuals and ordinary people as well. The phrases are short, but clearly expressed and easy understandable.

There battles mentioned in the poem are well known, and the author deliberately uses battles from different countries, in order to touch more people all over the world. Sandburg sees the grass as an allegory for a mother. It is like a power that observes humanity and covers its crimes. It does not want to judge people, like a mother who always forgives her children. It simply covers all. "I am the grass, I cover all Let me work"(Sandburg).

There are plenty ways to use nature for expression of feelings, life experiences, and many poets do so. I deliberately examined in this essay two American poets, contemporaries, who used nature in their poems differently to make the contrast clear. Both poems present interesting examples of the American modern poetry, in which nature is dominating.

Updated: Apr 19, 2023
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Nature in the Grass by Carl Sandburg and Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost. (2021, Dec 22). Retrieved from

Nature in the Grass by Carl Sandburg and Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost essay
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