Thoughts on “A Late Walk” by Robert Frost

Vincent Van Gogh

When I go up through the mowing field,
The headless aftermath,
Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,
Half closes the garden path.

And when I come to the garden ground,
The whir of sober birds
Up from the tangle of withered weeds
Is sadder than any words.

A tree beside the wall stands bare,
But a leaf that lingered brown,
Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,
Comes softly rattling down.

I end not far from my going forth
By picking the faded blue
Of the last remaining aster flower
To carry again to you.

In this poem, Frost uses autumn as a symbol for impending death. It appears that someone close to him is nearing the end of his or her life, and this imminent death is cause for Frost to reflect on his own mortality.

In addition to the ABCB rhyming scheme, Frost incorporates alliteration, which works nicely. The phrases “garden ground,” “withered weeds,” “leaf that lingered,” and “disturbed, I doubt not” instill a somber musicality to the poem that evokes a feeling of inner reflection.

I have often walked alone in the fall, smelling the dead leaves and listening to the wind rustling the bare branches of trees. At these times, I am very aware of the fragility of life, along with the promise of spring and rebirth.

It is the promise of rebirth that offers a ray of hope in this otherwise sad poem. Frost uses the aster flower as a symbol for spring and rebirth. Death is just part of the cycle of life, but the cycle continues and from death comes new growth.


Filed under Literature

4 responses to “Thoughts on “A Late Walk” by Robert Frost

  1. A very beautiful choice, Jeff. I was walking through the woods today and had similar reflections.

    • Nice! I recently returned from a three-day meditation retreat in the mountains, so I spent a lot of time doing silent meditative walking through the woods. So this poem also resonated with me. Hope you are well. Always great to hear from you.


  2. Beautiful poem and such a great analysis. It seems Frost likes to use Nature and Seasons to depict Life and the stages of Life. Interesting to learn about how Fall and Death are related here.
    Love & best wishes, dear Jeff 😉 ❤

    • Aquileana! So great to hear from you. I hope you have been doing well.

      Yes, Frost often uses Nature as a metaphor for transition and stages of life (at least as far as I can tell from my limited reading). And I find every time I read his works, I am reminded of just how great a poet he was.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Sending you all the best.