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Poetry Analysis Notes


The Runaway
by Robert Frost
interpreted by Peter Szewczyk [Chef-Chick]

Once when the snow of the year was beginning to fall,
We stopped by a mountain pasture to say, "Whose colt?"
A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall,
The other curled at his breast. He dipped his head
And snorted at us. And then he had to bolt.
We heard the miniature thunder where he fled,
And we saw him, or thought we saw him, dim and gray,
Like a shadow against the curtain of falling snow.
He isn't winter-broken. It isn't play
With the little fellow at all. He's running away.
I doubt if even his mother could tell him. 'Sakes,
It's only weather.' He'd think she didn't know!
Where is his mother? He can't be out alone."
And now he comes again with clatter of stone,
And mounts the wall again with whited eyes
And all his tail that isn't hair up straight.
He shudders his coat as if to throw off flies.
"Whoever it is that leaves him out so late,
When other creatures have gone to stall and bin,
Out to be told to come and take him in."

Poet: Robert Frost, key items to know:
- 1874-1963
- Born in California, moved to New England
- Published and sold his first poem in 1894
- Did not make a living as a poet until 1914.
- His poetry talks of simple things, many times related to nature.
- Pulitzer prizes in
- 1924 for 'New Hampshire' (1923)
- 1931 for 'Collected Poems' (1930)
- 1937 for 'A Further Range' (1936)
- 1943 for 'A Witness Tree' (1942).
- Named Consultant for Poetry for the Library of Congress in 1958
- Congresstional Gold Medal in 1960

Vocabulary: Morgan- A breed of saddle horst that originated in New England.

Type of poem:
This poem is a combination of a lyric poem ( because it expresses the feelings of a speaker) and a form of dramatic dialouge.

Speaker: The speaker of this poem is a group of people, most likely a family, who is wondering out in the snow during a winter evening.

The Runaway is adressed to the general audience. This poem makes the reader think about the concience of the human mind.

Tone: The tone of this poem is clear. The setting is dim and glum, and the mood (tone) of the speakers seems calm and observant. The speakers of the poem are in no rush to get anywhere, they are just calmly strolling through the fields.

This poem is about a stranded little Morgan, that is afraid of the snow, just looking for a place to hide. The Morgan (in my opinion) symbollises the helplessness of people during times like the depression, or even when Frost was just a novice poet. " Ought to be told to come and take him in." (Frost 585) This clearly supports the central theme of how people that are better off, will always lend a helping hand to those that are struggling. During the course of Frost's carreer, I am sure that one person, who was more successful at the time, lended a helping hand to him.

Structure of poem: Although there are some rhyme patterns throughout this poem, they are not consistant, so "The Runaway" must be labled as a free verse.

Examples of poetic techniques used in the poem:

"He can't be out alone.
.....with clatter of stone."
Like a Shadow against the curtain of falling flakes.
He shutters his coat as if to throw off flies.
I doubt if even his mother could tell him, " Sakes, It's only weather"
Minature thunder, whited eyes, etc.

Connection between the poem and the poet's life and/or times: Frost's career was not always a smooth ride. During the early stages of his career, his work was heavily critisized and thrown aside. Running away from it all (mentally) was surely something that he considered. Frost needed someone to take him in and get his work out into the public's eyes. This colt is a young Frost, who just needs a spark to start the blaze.

Most memorable quote from the poem:
"Ought to be told to come and take him in"

© Smelli Notes 2001