March 1, 2005

Never Again Would The Birds' Song Be The Same

The first time reading, "Never Again Would Birds' Song Be The Same" I thought it was simply about nature and the woman's voice which made a perfect sounds with the birds' natural tune. But then I decided that can't be it because it would be too easy! I had looked up the poem and came up with an excerpt from Modern American Poetry

There are many opinions on how to interpret this poem but I liked best Matthew A. Fike's interpretation, which is in the book "The Explicator". I understood more of what the poem was about after reading this because he gave me the background of Frost's life. "The poet's treatment of Eve's influence on birds has been read both as an "elegy" to his wife Elinor, who died in 1938, and as a loving tribute to his friend Kay Morrison, to whom he proposed marriage and who became his secretary in the same year. " (Elegy means- The praise bestowed on a person or thing; panegyric; eulogy.) Fike thinks that the poem really this this poem is a "subtle meditation on the Fall, Frost complements affectionate portrayal with sadness—his love for Kay and his wife is tempered by feelings of failure and loss related to his marriage. By undercutting the joy of paradisal love and the sense that Eve's unfallen voice will never be completely lost, the poem conveys the lamentation to which all fallen love is heir."

I think this interpretation makes sense and exaplins why there is such a soft tone present in the poem. Later on he goes on saying, that this poem is "highly positive." Frost recited "Bird's Song" in her honor and there are many written notes that Frost wrote to praise his secretary/would-be-wife. I also like the last staement in his argument - "Whereas the Fall qualifies the sense that "Birds' Song" is a love poem for Kay Morrison, the sonnet form indicates the poet's attempt to forge order out of chaos—the fall out of happiness in his marriage but on a larger scale the Fall he shares with humanity. There sounds a further note of hope in "her voice upon their voices crossed." One critic's reading, that "’crossed’ raises the specter of conflict, as in a crossing of swords," bears out the negativity of the Fall. But "crossed" more aptly calls to mind the Cross, on which Christ undoes what Eve has done to birds and Adam and all of creation. "

Well after reading all of that I decided to re-read the poem and try and understand it myself and this is what I came up with : Frost was watching Kay in the garden signing to the birds' when he wrote this poem. He was desribing to us how delicate her voice was and how gracefule she was. She could only get teh attention of the birds' because she spoke so soft and delicate-they were the only ones who responded to her the best because thy really understood her. The voices joined together or "crossed" and how happy she was when she was in the garden signing to the birds. She made everyone happy when she was near them and that is why she came into his life.

I do not think that this poem had one sad line in it. I think it was happy and Frost was showing or writing his appreciation for Kay. He's very happy that she came into his life because she didn't come in with fury and cause a great disturbance she just kind of floated into his life - nice and quiet. She brought out something that in Frost that he thought he lost, but she was with him and made him want to live again.

Posted by GinaBurgese at March 1, 2005 9:17 AM | TrackBack

Great details, Gina -- and a great demonstration of how to get meaning out of a poem. Rereading always helps.

BTW, The Explicator is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes short readings of literary works. It's a great source of ideas, though because the articles are so short I wouldn't base my whole paper on it.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 2, 2005 9:43 AM

Wow, I really like that you took a different approach to the poem, Gina. Taking hinted ideas from "The Explicator" was a great idea.

The description that you gave, that Frost was watching Kay in a garden when he wrote this poem, almost made me cry! How beautiful... That one person's purpose for living would be to make another happy seems to foreign because in today's world we associate meaning and purpose with our careers and personal successes and not family and love. What a simple and lovely way to live. Thanks for shedding light into that area, Gina ;-)

Posted by: Karissa at March 2, 2005 9:17 PM

Great details, Gina. There's always more to Frost than meets the eye, and more often than not, nature plays a big role in his poems.

Posted by: Neha at March 2, 2005 10:46 PM

that was great

Posted by: michael capelli at October 14, 2005 11:51 PM

Never Again Would the Birds’ Song Be the Same
By Robert Frost

He would declare and could himself believe
That the birds there in all the garden round
From having heard the daylong voice of Eve
Had added to their own an oversound,
Her tone of meaning but without the words.
Admittedly an eloquence so soft
Could only have an influence on birds
When call or laughter carried it aloft.
Be that as may be, she was in their song.
Moreover her voice upon their voices crossed
Had now persisted in the woods so long
That probably it never would be lost.
Never again would birds' song be the same.
And to do that to birds was why she came.

Posted by: ass at February 9, 2007 3:49 PM
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