Explication of "Birches" by Robert Frost.
According to the speaker and author Robert Frost, enduring life's challenges can be easier by finding a balance between imagination and real life. The tone of the poem is nostalgic. The poem is divided into four parts: an introduction, an analysis of the bending of birch trees, an imaginative untrue analysis of the farm boy swinging on birches, and a wish Frost makes, wanting to return to his childhood. All of these sections have underlying philosophical meanings. Personification, alliteration, metaphor, and other sound devices support these meanings and themes. "Birches" exibits no rhythm sceme or specific line length which suggests it is free verse.
In the first section of the poem, Frost explains the appearance of the birches. Frost wants to believe that the branches of the birches bend and sway because of a boy swinging on them. However, Frost suggests that repeated ice storms are what bend the branches. Frost compares the breaking away of the ice from the trees to the "dome of heaven" shattering (Line 13). This could be a metaphor for life using imagery. The ice can symbolize difficult times that come in life, while the ice breaking away may represent renewed hope for the future. Initially, the forest scene describes, "crystal shells Shattering and avalanching on the snow crust-- Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away" (10-12). The words "shattering and avalanching" (11) give the feeling of disaster and perhaps fear or sorrow. A disturbance on earth is suggested by the "heaps of broken glass" (12) that make it seem as if "the inner dome of heaven had fallen" (13). Frost also lends sound to his description of the branches as "they click upon themselves As the breeze rises" (7-8). This may be a spin on the idea that problems and experiences "click" off of people, however, the click is not a snap implying that problems do not break people. Frost further explains the branches bend because of the ice, however, they do not break.