Nothing Gold Can Stay (Frost)

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I think one of the main themes in this poem is that beauty is fleeting. Things that are undeniably beautiful, such as a bud or a sunrise, only last for a few moments. However, I think that the following three lines also indicate another theme regarding the novelty of something.

"Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf."

The first time we experience something, it is important and interesting. However, if we continue to look at or experience something, our interest seems to dwindle, and the novelty of that first time experience seems to wear off. The experience becomes ordinary. Eventually, it just becomes another experience; the same as every other experience we have encountered.

Perhaps that is why things that are truly beautiful only last for a short time. If a sunrise lasted all day, then it would become ordinary. Because we would constantly be exposed to the sunrise, it wouldn't seem to have the same beauty that it has when we only have a few minutes to experience it.

Read other students thoughts on selections by Frost


Marie, I like your thoughts on this poem. When I first read "Nothing Gold Can Stay" in the seventh grade, while the class was reading The Outsiders, it took me awhile to really catch on to what Frost was talking about. However, now looking back on it, I understand it completely because of how you can relate it to so many experiences in life, not just in the aspect of nature.

Alicia Campbell said:

I also agree with your thoughts. We do become desensitized by the things to which we are often exposed, while those things that affect us for a brief moment are phenomenal. I was also enlightened because before reading your interpretation, I was stumped on the line, "then leaf subsides to leaf." I now realize that a leaf is just a leaf because we have become so accusomed to seeing them. Perhaps we even need the commonality of the leaves, along with the other things that we see so often, in order to appreciate the rarity of things such as a sunrise.

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