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robert frost Quotes

Robert Frost Quotes

Birth Date: 1874-03-26 (Thursday, March 26th, 1874)
Date of Death: 1963-01-29 (Tuesday, January 29th, 1963)



    • I do not see why I should e'er turn back, Or those should not set forth upon my track To overtake me, who should miss me here And long to know if still I held them dear. They would not find me changed from him they knew - Only more sure of all I thought was true.
    • Ah, when to the heart of man Was it ever less than a treason To go with the drift of things, To yield with a grace to reason, And bow and accept the end Of a love or a season?
    • I'm going out to clean the pasture spring; I'll only stop to rake the leaves away (And wait to watch the water clear, I may): I sha'n't be gone long. - You come too.
    • And nothing to look backward to with pride, And nothing to look forward to with hope.
    • Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.
    • The nearest friends can go With anyone to death, comes so far short They might as well not try to go at all. No, from the time when one is sick to death, One is alone, and he dies more alone. Friends make pretence of following to the grave, But before one is in it, their minds are turned And making the best of their way back to life And living people, and things they understand.
    • Most of the change we think we see in life Is due to truths being in and out of favor.
    • The best way out is always through.
    • Pressed into service means pressed out of shape.
    • Forgive me my nonsense as I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense.
    • A poem...begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where an emotion finds the thought and the thought finds the words.
    • I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
    • The Hyla breed That shouted in the mist a month ago, Like ghost of sleigh-bells in a ghost of snow.
    • We love the things we love for what they are.
    • I'd like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth's the right place for love: I don't know where it's likely to go better.
    • I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
    • I shall set forth for somewhere, I shall make the reckless choice Some day when they are in voice And tossing so as to scare The white clouds over them on. I shall have less to say, But I shall be gone.
    • Do you know, Considering the market, there are more Poems produced than any other thing? No wonder poets sometimes have to seem So much more businesslike than businessmen. Their wares are so much harder to get rid of.
    • The Vermont mountains stretch extended straight; New Hampshire mountains curl up in a coil.
    • 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.
    • The snake stood up for evil in the Garden.
    • Why make so much of fragmentary blue In here and there a bird, or butterfly, Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye, When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue.
    • Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.
    • The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued.
    • And then we saw him bolt. We heard the miniature thunder where he fled, And we saw him, or thought we saw him, dim and gray, Like a shadow across instead of behind the flakes.
    • Love at the lips was touch As sweet as I could bear; And once that seemed too much; I lived on air
    • Now no joy but lacks salt, That is not dashed with pain And weariness and fault; I crave the stain Of tears, the aftermark Of almost too much love, The sweet of bitter bark And burning clove.
    • How often already you've had to be told, Keep cold, young orchard. Good-bye and keep cold. Dread fifty above more than fifty below. I have to be gone for a season or so.
    • It is absurd to think that the only way to tell if a poem is lasting is to wait and see if it lasts. The right reader of a good poem can tell the moment it strikes him that he has taken an immortal wound-that he will never get over it.
    • You could not tell, and yet it looked as if The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff, The cliff in being backed by continent; It looked as if a night of dark intent Was coming, and not only a night, an age. Someone had better be prepared for rage. There would be more than ocean-water broken Before God's last Put out the Light was spoken.
    • Tree at my window, window tree, My sash is lowered when night comes on; But let there never be curtain drawn Between you and me.
    • That day she put our heads together, Fate had her imagination about her, Your head so much concerned with outer, Mine with inner, weather.
    • One luminary clock against the sky Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. I have been one acquainted with the night.
    • If, as they say, some dust thrown in my eyes Will keep my talk from getting overwise, I'm not the one for putting off the proof. Let it be overwhelming, off a roof And round a corner, blizzard snow for dust, And blind me to a standstill if it must.
    • Everything written is as good as it is dramatic. It need not declare itself in form, but it is drama or nothing.
    • Poetry begins in trivial metaphors, pretty metaphors, 'grace' metaphors, and goes on to the profoundest thinking that we have. Poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another. People say, 'Why don't you say what you mean?' We never do that, do we, being all of us too much poets. We like to talk in parables and in hints and in indirections - whether from diffidence or some other instinct.
    • Don't join too many gangs. Join few if any. Join the United States and join the family - But not much in between, unless a college.
    • Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.
    • The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day When the sun is out and the wind is still, You?re one month on in the middle of May. But if you so much as dare to speak, A cloud comes over the sunlit arch, A wind comes off a frozen peak, And you?re two months back in the middle of March.
    • But yield who will to their separation, My object in living is to unite My avocation and my vocation As my two eyes make one in sight. Only where love and need are one, And the work is play for mortal stakes, Is the deed ever really done For heaven and the future?s sakes.
    • No memory of having starred Atones for later disregard, Or keeps the end from being hard. Better to go down dignified With boughten friendship at your side Than none at all. Provide, provide!
    • The old dog barks backward without getting up; I can remember when he was a pup.
    • When I see young men doing so wonderfully well in athletics, I don't feel angry at them. I feel jealous of them. I wish that some of my boys in writing would do the same thing.... You must have form - performance. The thing itself is indescribable, but it is felt like athletic form. To have form, feel form in sports - and by analogy feel form in verse. One works and waits for form in both. As I said, the person who spends his time criticizing the play around him will never write poetry. He will write criticism.
    • The land was ours before we were the land's. She was our land more than a hundred years Before we were her people.
    • Such as we were we gave ourselves outright (The deed of gift was many deeds of war) To the land vaguely realizing westward, But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced, Such as she was, such as she would become.
    • She is as in a field of silken tent At midday when the sunny summer breeze Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent, So that in guys it gently sways at ease.
    • But strictly held by none, is loosely bound By countless silken ties of love and thought To every thing on earth the compass round, And only by one's going slightly taut In the capriciousness of summer air Is of the slightest bondage made aware.
    • Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.
    • Far in the pillared dark Thrush music went - Almost like a call to come in To the dark and lament. But no, I was out for stars; I would not come in. I meant not even if asked; And I hadn't been.
    • If this uncertain age in which we dwell Were really as dark as I hear sages tell, And I convinced that they were really sages, I should not curse myself with it to hell.
    • And were an epitaph to be my story I'd have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world.
    • We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
    • Have I not walked without an upward look Of caution under stars that very well Might not have missed me when they shot and fell? It was a risk I had to take-and took.
    • For any eye is an evil eye That looks in onto a mood apart.
    • All those who try to go it sole alone, Too proud to be beholden for relief, Are absolutely sure to come to grief.
    • It asks a little of us here. It asks of us a certain height. So when at times the mob is swayed To carry praise or blame too far, We may take something like a star To stay our minds on and be staid.
    • A poet never takes notes. You never take notes in a love affair.
    • People are inexterminable - like flies and bed-bugs. There will always be some that survive in cracks and crevices - that's us.
    • Summoning artists to participate In the august occasions of the state Seems something artists ought to celebrate. Today is for my cause a day of days.
    • Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.
    • I am assured at any rate Man's practically inexterminate. Someday I must go into that. There's always been an Ararat Where someone someone else begat To start the world all over at.
    • It takes all sorts of in and outdoor schooling To get adapted to my kind of fooling.
    • Unless I'm wrong I but obey The urge of a song: I'm-bound-away! And I may return If dissatisfied With what I learn From having died.
    • You don't have to deserve your mother's love. You have to deserve your father's. He's more particular.... The father is always a Republican towards his son, and his mother's always a Democrat.
    • All out of doors looked darkly in at him Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars, That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
    • The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood, Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
    • 'Don't let him cut my hand off- The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!' So. But the hand was gone already.
    • I always have felt strange when we came home To the dark house after so long an absence, And the key rattled loudly into place Seemed to warn someone to be getting out At one door as we entered at another.
    • Her crop was a miscellany When all was said and done, A little bit of everything, A great deal of none.
    • Take care to sell your horse before he dies. The art of life is passing losses on.
    • She drew back; he was calm 'It is this that had the power,' And he lashed his open palm With the tender-headed flower.
    • But he sent her Good-by, And said to be good, And wear her red hood, And look for skunk tracks In the snow with an ax - And do everything!
    • There was never a sound beside the wood but one, And that was my long scythe whispering to the ground.
    • To warm the frozen swamp as best it could With the slow smokeless burning of decay.
    • My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree Toward heaven still. And there's a barrel that I didn't fill Beside it, and there may be two or three Apples I didn't pick upon some bough. But I am done with apple-picking now.
    • Were he not gone, The woodchuck could say whether it's like his Long sleep, as I describe its coming on, Or just some human sleep.
    • The birds that came to it through the air At broken windows flew out and in, Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh From too much dwelling on what has been.
    • It must be the brook Can trust itself to go by contraries The way I can with you - and you with me - Because we're - we're - I don't know What we are.
    • Our life runs down in sending up the clock. The brook runs down in sending up our life. The sun runs down in sending up the brook. And there is something sending up the sun.
    • Something inspires the only cow of late To make no more of a wall than an open gate, And think no more of wall-builders than fools.
    • The world has room to make a bear feel free; The universe seems cramped to you and me.
    • The land may vary more; But wherever the truth may be - The water comes ashore, And the people look at the sea.
    • Nobody was ever meant To remember or invent What he did with every cent.
    • 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.
    • We disparage reason. But all the time it's what we're most concerned with. There's will as motor and there's will as brakes. Reason is, I suppose, the steering gear.
    • Deliver us from committees.
    • Wind goes from farm to farm in wave on wave, But carries no cry of what is hoped to be. There may be little or much beyond the grave, But the strong are saying nothing until they see.
    • 'Twas Age imposed on poems Their gather-roses burden To warn against the danger That overtaken lovers From being overflooded With happiness should have it And yet not know they have it.
    • Till we came to be There was not a trace Of a thinking race Anywhere in space.
    • It is the future that creates his present. All is an interminable chain of longing.
    • 'Well, who begun it?' That's what at the end of a war We always say not who won it, Or what it was foughten for.
    • Two such as you with such a master speed Cannot be parted nor be swept away From one another once you are agreed That life is only life forevermore Together wing to wing and oar to oar.
    • Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun; And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
    • My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbours.'
    • Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence. Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That wants it down.
    • He moves in darkness as it seems to me, Not of woods only and the shade of trees. He will not go behind his father's saying, And he likes having thought of it so well He says again, 'Good fences make good neighbours.'
    • He saw her from the bottom of the stairs Before she saw him. She was starting down, Looking back over her shoulder at some fear. She took a doubtful step and then undid it To raise herself and look again. He spoke Advancing toward her: 'What is it you see From up there always?-for I want to know.'
    • She let him look, sure that he wouldn't see, Blind creature; and awhile he didn't see. But at last he murmured, 'Oh,' and again, 'Oh.'
    • The little graveyard where my people are! So small the window frames the whole of it.
    • He said twice over before he knew himself: 'Can't a man speak of his own child he's lost?' 'Not you!'-'Oh, where's my hat? Oh, I don't need it! I must get out of here. I must get air.'- I don't know rightly whether any man can.'
    • 'My words are nearly always an offense. I don't know how to speak of anything So as to please you. But I might be taught, I should suppose. I can't say I see how.
    • A man must partly give up being a man With womenfolk. We could have some arrangement By which I'd bind myself to keep hands off Anything special you're a-mind to name. Though I don't like such things 'twixt those that love. Two that don't love can't live together without them. But two that do can't live together with them.' She moved the latch a little. 'Don't - don't go. Don't carry it to someone else this time. Tell me about it if it's something human. Let me into your grief. I'm not so much Unlike other folks as your standing there Apart would make me out. Give me my chance.
    • 'I can repeat the very words you were saying: 'Three foggy mornings and one rainy day Will rot the best birch fence a man can build.' Think of it, talk like that at such a time! What had how long it takes a birch to rot To do with what was in the darkened parlor? You couldn't care! The nearest friends can go With anyone to death, comes so far short They might as well not try to go at all.
    • Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.
    • My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year.
    • He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.
    • The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
    • It should be of the pleasure of a poem itself to tell how it can. The figure a poem makes. It begins in delight and ends in wisdom. The figure is the same for love.
    • No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.
    • Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting...Read it a hundred times; it will forever keep its freshness as a metal keeps its fragrance. It can never lose its sense of a meaning that once unfolded by surprise as it went.
    • Scholars and artists thrown together are often annoyed at the puzzle of where they differ. Both work from knowledge; but I suspect they differ most importantly in the way their knowledge is come by. Scholars get theirs with conscientious thoroughness along projected lines of logic; poets theirs cavalierly and as it happens in and out of books. They stick to nothing deliberately, but let what will stick to them like burrs where they walk in the fields.
    • Back out of all this now too much for us, Back in a time made simple by the loss Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather, There is a house that is no more a house Upon a farm that is no more a farm And in a town that is no more a town. The road there, if you'll let a guide direct you Who only has at heart your getting lost, May seem as if it should have been a quarry - Great monolithic knees the former town Long since gave up pretense of keeping covered. And there's a story in a book about it:
    • As for the woods' excitement over you That sends light rustle rushes to their leaves, Charge that to upstart inexperience. Where were they all not twenty years ago? They think too much of having shaded out A few old pecker-fretted apple trees.
    • The height of the adventure is the height Of country where two village cultures faded Into each other. Both of them are lost. And if you're lost enough to find yourself By now, pull in your ladder road behind you And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.
    • First there's the children's house of make-believe, Some shattered dishes underneath a pine, The playthings in the playhouse of the children. Weep for what little things could make them glad.
    • This was no playhouse but a house in earnest. Your destination and your destiny's A brook that was the water of the house, Cold as a spring as yet so near its source, Too lofty and original to rage. (We know the valley streams that when aroused Will leave their tatters hung on barb and thorn.)
    • I have kept hidden in the instep arch Of an old cedar at the waterside A broken drinking goblet like the Grail Under a spell so the wrong ones can't find it, So can't get saved, as Saint Mark says they mustn't. (I stole the goblet from the children's playhouse.) Here are your waters and your watering place. Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.
    • How many times it thundered before Franklin took the hint! How many apples fell on Newton's head before he took the hint! Nature is always hinting at us. It hints over and over again. And suddenly we take the hint.
    • It is only a moment here and a moment there that the greatest writer has.
    • Love is an irresistible desire to be desired irresistibly.
    • Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat.
    • Talking is a hydrant in the yard and writing is a faucet upstairs in the house. Opening the first takes all the pressure off the second.
    • The greatest thing in family life is to take a hint when a hint is intended-and not to take a hint when a hint isn't intended.
    • Always fall in with what you're asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it over your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever's going. Not against: with.
    • A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.
    • A definite purpose, like blinders on a horse, inevitably narrows its possessor's point of view.
    • A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday... but never remembers her age.
    • A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.
    • A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.
    • A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes.
    • A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.
    • All poetry is a reproduction of the tones of actual speech.
    • Always fall in with what you're asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it over your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever's going. Not against: with.
    • An idea is a feat of association.
    • As it is more blessed to give than receive, so it must be more blessed to receive than to give back.
    • By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.
    • Do not follow where the path may lead... Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
    • Education is...hanging around until you've caught on.
    • Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
    • Half the world is composed of those who have something to say but can't; the other half is of those who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.
    • Humor is the most engaging cowardice.
    • I alone of English writers have consciously set myself to make music out of what I may call the sound of sense.
    • I am a writer of books in retrospect. I talk in order to understand; I teach in order to learn.
    • I never dared to be radical when young for fear it would make me conservative when old.
    • If you don't know how great this country is, I know someone who does; Russia.
    • I'm against a homogenized society, because I want the cream to rise.
    • In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life - It goes on.
    • Isn't it funny that anything the Supreme Court says is right?
    • My sorrow, when she's here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane.
    • Poetry is the first thing lost in translation.
    • Sometimes I have my doubts of words altogether, and I ask myself what is the place of them. They are worse than nothing unless they do something; unless they amount to deeds, as in ultimatums or battle-cries. They must be flat and final like the show-down in poker, from which there is no appeal. My definition of poetry (if I were forced to give one) would be this: words that become deeds.
    • [Style is] that which indicates how the writer takes himself and what he is saying. It is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward.
    • The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.
    • The chief reason for going to school is to get the impression fixed for life that there is a book side for everything.
    • The ear does it. The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader.
    • The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart.
    • The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.
    • The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.
    • There are tones of voices that mean more than words.
    • There are two types of realists: the one who offers a good deal of dirt with his potato to show that it is a real one, and the one who is satisfied with the potato brushed clean. I'm inclined to be the second kind. To me, the thing that art does for life is to clean it, to strip it to form.
    • There's absolutely no reason for being rushed along with the rush. Everybody should be free to go very slow...What you want, what you're hanging around in the world waiting for, is for something to occur to you.
    • We dance in a circle and suppose, while the secret sits in the middle and knows.
    • What is this talked-of mystery of birth but being mounted bareback on the earth?
    • You can be a rank insider as well as a rank outsider.
    • robert frost

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