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March 1, 2005

Eve-n birds gotta shout

Since commenting on Moira's entry discussing "Never Again Would Birds' Song Be the Same" (by Robert Frost), I've had an opportunity to toss the Biblical reference thought around in my mind...

I had originally asked "Who is(are) the "bird(s)" in this poem? Are they really birds, or is this an allusion to something else?"

I think the birds could refer to all of the human life that existed in the Garden of Eden, and all the human life yet to come. A sort of premonition through Eve's original sin (disobeying God and eating fruit from the forbidden tree in the Garden), the birds' song being forever changed (line 13, "Never again would birds' song be the same.") is the parallel to the human race forever changed to slavery to sin.

Line 2 gives reference to the Earth--"garden round," also bearing forth the Garden of Eden in the same reference.

It is in this "garden round" that Eve's voice influenced (Genesis 3:1-7) Adam to take a bite of the forbidden fruit that the snake said would make them more like God (Genesis 3:5 "...for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open and you will be like divine beings who know good and evil.")

Thanks, snake... Thanks, Eve.

Now God's not exactly nuts about his latest creations and could do God-y things like, oh I don't know--destroy us!

But no... He just decided to make things harder for us as punishment (Genesis 3:8-19). Like declare us cursed above all the wild beasts, give women more labor pains, make men toil to cultivate the earth, and give us argumentative dispositions.

Sheesh. One lil piece of fruit... But He did say "no..."

When I think of Adam and Eve, no animal but a snake comes into my mind, for obvious reasons. But Frost gives the images of birds... What could Frost imply with this? A bird is quite the opposite of a snake in so many ways--winged with free movement, beak vs. teeth and tongue; and even the emotions we associate with the animals are quite contrasting. A bird is probably seen (in a psychological sense, to most people I would assume) as a friendlier, kinder animal when compared to a snake. The famous Biblical snake-reference gives nothing but a negative connotation anyway.

Frost is giving us the short-and-sweet, quick-n-dirty version of this story with great beauty in the words he's chosen, which make it almost shadowed with a righteous idea of holiness--the "eloquence so soft" that only "call or laughter carried it aloft" (lines 6, 8).

Eve wasn't meant to sin, was she? God created these first beings so that they might enjoy their lives and use their energies to glorify God. In fact, anything that they did--work or play--was in the glory of God, with praising God in mind. Satan, present in the snake, didn't give his plot away--getting God's new toys to malfunction. He just did it, and he succeeded.

Line 14 (the second line of the couplet, forming the sonnet) states "And to do that to birds is why she came." What of this in a Biblical discussion--was Eve's pure purpose to get kicked out of Eden?? Was she doomed from her creation? Why would Frost say this if it isn't religiously accepted? This isn't the way that I ever thought of Eve's purpose... I guess it deserves more thought.

*NOTE: there is no trackback for this entry to the class blog since the permalink for the entry is disabled--no page displays at the address, so therefore a trackback is impossible.

Posted by KarissaKilgore at March 1, 2005 11:47 PM


You know, that last line of the poem really throws me too - it does imply a predestination saying she was "meant" to do what she did (whether this be Eve or the woman in question).

Maybe Frost is saying that sin ain't so bad... after all, we're only human? I've always thought that the Adam and Eve story somehow got twisted around a bit - maybe the apple = free will - as in instead of being stuck in one particular way of being, we have been given a choice - that, I think, is the beauty of life. We choose how we live, how we interact with others, how we worship whatever deity(ies) that we choose to worship. (I could talk about this FOREVER... i better shut up :c)

Posted by: moira at March 2, 2005 10:34 AM

Hey, Moira--no need to "shut up"! You're welcome to banter on forever, if necessary, here on my Sugarpacket :-)

That darned last line! Ooo, we'll have to bring that one up in class, won't we?

Apple as sin? Hey, I thought that was health food! LOL. Anyway, that's an interesting concept. I like it--maybe by choosing the apple with the snake's introduction Eve chose to have choices--she chose a path for the rest of us... wow, that's really mind-blowing if you think too deeply on it! I don't think I've ever thought about it that way before. Frost is certainly giving us a more romaticized version of the story, but in doing that this question of "choice" lays groundwork for the philosophy of man, as a whole. Did Frost know he was doing this? I mean, I'm sure he had a purpose in his work, but was he intending to begin a debate over originating sin vs. choosing choices?

At least God forgives our sins. Thank God, because even in our everyday lives (as Christians) trying to live without sin is nearly impossible... could Frost's poem be a catalyst for repentance? Just a thought...

Posted by: Karissa at March 2, 2005 8:52 PM

I did make referance to your presentation in my entry, I thought it fit right in with my views. In this case, The poem didn't lose anything in any translation. It gained so much more. It changed many of our lives, I am sorry to hear about your uncle. We will always remember where we were and what we were doing on 9-11, But i couldn't tell you where i was or what i was doing on that day in 1996. As I think Tiffany said in a comment on my blog, this is the assassination of kenendy for our generation. We will never forget this. I just hope we get something good to remember like armstrong walking on the moon, i think we need a good thing to remember. Thanks for commenting on my blog.

Posted by: Scott Clark at March 3, 2005 1:16 AM

Hey Scott--thanks for stopping by! I'm flattered that you referenced my presentation.

There is so much to know about poetry... We can interpret all that we want, but without the author's guidance, we can never truly understand what the poem is to be about (and in what extent, as well). I'm glad that people really seem to be getting into the discussion of relations of the poems with other poems.

And about 9/11--yes, the majority of us will always be able to say where we were and what we were doing when the first and second planes hit the towers. But I, like you, pray that there will be some great event in our lifetimes that we can recall with joy rather than sorrow.

Posted by: Karissa at March 3, 2005 11:13 AM

Hey Karissa,
Your blog got me to thinking about this poem, especially about Eve. This might sound crazy but I kind of got the feeling that since Adam and Eve were made to take care of all the animals, in the poem it seems as though the birds fancied Eve. It's almost as though they are sad, especially when Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and were unable to take care of the birds and other animals anymore. Maybe this is why there song changed, according to Frost anyway. LoL, I'm posting another crazy thought today. :)

Posted by: Sue at March 3, 2005 2:00 PM

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