A Line-Storm Song
By Robert Frost
The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift.
The road is forlorn all day,
Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift,
And the hoof-prints vanish away.
The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
Expend their bloom in vain.
Come over the hills and far with me,
And be my love in the rain.
The birds have less to say for themselves
In the wood-world's torn despair
Than now these numberless years the elves,
Although they are no less there:
All song of the woods is crushed like some
Wild, earily shattered rose.
Come, be my love in the wet woods, come,
Where the boughs rain when it blows.
There is the gale to urge behind
And bruit our singing down,
And the shallow waters aflutter with wind
From which to gather your gown.
What matter if we go clear to the west,
And come not through dry-shod?
For wilding brooch shall wet your breast
The rain-fresh goldenrod.
Oh, never this whelming east wind swells
But it seems like the sea's return
To the ancient lands where it left the shells
Before the age of the fern;
And it seems like the time when after doubt
Our love came back amain.
Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
And be my love in the rain.
There comes a time in every person’s life when he/she has to decide whether Robert Frost is just an annoying author of inspirational poster catch phrases, or if he’s one of the most amazing American poets of all time. Only recently have I realized that he is definitely the later, and that even in his poems that just beg to be quoted at high school graduation ceremonies, Frost manages to hide a deeper, more melancholy meaning.
“A Line-Storm Song,” which I read for the first time a couple of days ago, is a perfect example of this. Right away the poem won me over with its beautiful imagery of a rain soaked forest. Some of my favorite images are the boughs that rain when the wind blows, and the flowers wasting their blooms because they are too wet for bees to pollinate them. Frost also uses the song-like rhythm and rhyme scheme so well that every time the line “and be my love in the rain” comes you can’t help but get chills.
After savoring the scene Frost painted and the melody of his language, I re-read through the poem and noticed a tone of sorrow amidst all the beauty – the forlorn road, the quiet birds in the despairing wood, and again the flowers with no bees. The speaker of the poem seems to attribute these things to the constant rainstorm attacking the forest. However, he doesn’t speak with fear or resentment. He seems to have a degree of affection for the storm; he even invites his lover to join in him the rain.
Once again I find myself conflicted in a Frost poem. Supposedly the rainstorm is beautiful, but it also seems to be assaulting the forest. And beautiful or not, who would invite their girlfriend to hang around in a torrential rainstorm? In my opinion this is where Frost’s poem excels. Although the man is stuck in a storm, he wants his lover with him because he knows any storm is beautiful when he’s with the person he loves. Whatsmore, it seems like this couple has seen more than one storm together. The storm even reminds him of their life together: “It seems like the time when under doubt/our love came back amain.”
In the end Frost’s poem teaches the bittersweet lesson that life and love are full of storms, such violent storms that paths wear down and birds stop singing. But what else is there? All we can do is “Come forth into the rain and rout/and be my love in the rain.”