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Leafy Paradise

"Her early leaf's a flower;/But only so an hour./Then leaf subsides to leaf./So Eden sank to grief,"
--"Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost

I chose this quote because I think it's a really effective illustration of the way Frost links seemingly small insignifcant aspects of nature with larger ideas in short and simple language. It's obvious that leaves eventually turn color and fall off; what makes this poem interesting is the fact that Frost links it to the fall of Eden. All of the poems that I've read by him use nature in an eye-opening way, pointing out the way the natural world mirrors what happens in human life. The fall of Eden represents more than just Adam and Eve being forced out of paradise; it's something that on some level every human experiences. Sooner or later, the things that bring us joy will leave us. Everyone can relate to becoming disillusioned with something they once loved or having to put aside doing something they loved doing as a kid. Human happiness is fleeting; this is a simple statement, but if you think about it, it really is a deeply profound, all-encompassing, sad truth. The fact that Frost was able to link the tiny detail of a leaf changing color and falling off to being cast out of Paradise is a huge journey to make in only four lines, but I think it works because of the sheer simplicity of both of these events--they are different in scale and scope but neither is a complex event to comprehend. They're both just things-that-happen, basic truths we must learn to accept as we get older.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 29, 2009 11:14 PM.

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