Desert Places Desert Places - home


MICROCOSMOS POEM # 9 Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast In a field I looked into going past, And the ground almost covered smooth in snow, But a few weeds and stubble showing last. The woods around it have it Al l animals are smothered in their lairs. I am too absent spirited to count; The loneliness includes me unawares. And lonely as it is, that loneliness Will be more lonely ere it will be less A blanker whiteness of benighted snow With no expression, noth ing to express. They cannot scare me with their empty spaces Between stars human race is.

I have it in me so much nearer home To scare myself with my own desert places.

R. Frost (1936) - - - - - Robert Frost was born in San Francisco but moved to New England at the age of 11. He earned four Pulitzer Prizes in his fifty plus years of writing poetry. ANALYSIS/DISCUSSION: Besides feelings of personal lonesomeness, there’s also a sense of cosmic alienation, of mankind being alone in the universe. Do you think this sense of isolation is restricted to the last stanza or does it pervade the entire poem? “Snow” could be seen as a reference to the higher establishment (i.e. the government who may seek to suffocate the individual) and “animals” to the lower levels of society. Do you think this poem is about social pressures and the poet’s failure to conform? If you consider "my own desert places" to mean emptiness within oneself, this becomes less about loneliness and more about something lacking in the poet’s life. Which lines might support this? Try comparing and contrasting this piece with another of Frost’s poems – “Tree at My Window”