Robert Frost is one of my favorites. He does what few poets can do, he writes about nature, but also something deeper than at the same time. It’s not just nature, it’s a whole secret world that says something bigger than just what is in view.
For him a tree is not just a trunk and leaves; it is a whole world of fun and climbing, an old man bent with the wear of the world, a companion to fun whipping it’s playmates about, a right of passage, a ladder to heaven. A path through a forest is a destiny or a life passage, an event never to be experienced again.
He does to poetry what all poets should do, and it’s the thing that I love the best, he requires a closer reading, a stop to pause and contemplate the words chosen, the syntax and the sounds of each line. And he shows the reader that he is not simply writing about a tree, or path, or puddle, or a desert. There are always entire worlds in each and every one of his grains of sand. He writes about these with dedication to them from his own experiences of them and how they looked, and smelled, and felt and what they made him think about and feel, because for him they were not just trees or paths or deserts. And the best part of all is that you can never look at a tree the same way ever again, for you, now the initiated, it is another, more complex creature.
In this poem, he writes about bird song and about a woman’s voice. It is a love poem, a dedication to the beauty of her sound. That once he heard her he could never be the same. But I didn’t realize that this was a love poem until I stopped and read through this carefully. “Never Again Would Be the Same,” was a passage that made me think of loss, not of gain. So, I came to the poem with assumptions, I came to it thinking that the birds would remind him of some woman who flew away and was never to be seen, but no, it was about what she gave him, about what would never leave. This is how I always feel about his poems; they always give something, something wonderful, that never leaves. It proves that there are some things you can take with you.
Never Again Would 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 had 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.