"Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay."
Robert Frost, 1923, Yale Review (earned Frost the 1924 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry)
I admit there have been times I believed I was immortal like Highlander Connor Macleod of the Clan Macleod. Then along comes a voice from the past that irritatingly reminds me I'm part of the natural order of things, like Frost's Nothing Gold Can Stay.
Just how it does this I'm not quite sure, as I'm not one much for analyzing. (I'm more of the superficial sort.) The analytical process itself reminds me of a story of the time a famous poet was visiting a class and the professor took one of his works and spent the better part of an hour dissecting its deeper meanings, interpretations of specific phrases relating to man's inhumanity to man and hidden messages on the value of moral turpitude (and such). At the end of his presentation, in a total sweat, the triumphant professor turns to the writer sweeps his hands out dramatically and asks, "So, what do you think of that?" Whereupon the writer says, "Geez man, I thought it was just a poem."
But this work causes me great conflict. There's just so much in there in so few words. I find myself finding (shudder) deeper meaning. Almost effortlessly. Why did Frost insist on showing that a compressed work could weave a wealth of imagery and meaning when the majority of his contemporaries were publishing long, detailed explorations in verse? Does it have to do with his own definition of poetry as a "momentary stay against confusion?" Perhaps. But I think he did it just to bother me almost a century later.
Paradoxes (green is gold, leaf's a flower) – reality versus paradise. Gold – both a color and a instrument of wealth. Dawn – the beginning of a new day and metaphor of birth. The beauty of the moment of sunrise, the potential and transitory nature of awareness and change are all nestled in this special time. The presence of change as a constant in life and the ability to see it not as a loss but as part of the natural process. Seeing moments as special. Gifts.
There should be a law.