“Nature’s First Green Is Gold”

Robert Frost

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.


Robert Frost was born March 26, 1874. After the death of his father, his family moved to Massachusetts. It was here that Frost began to fall in love with writing and reading poetry. He enrolled in both Dartmouth and Harvard University, yet he never received a formal college degree. He moved to England with his wife in 1912, and while there, he was majorly influenced by English poets of that time. By the time he had returned to America, he had published two books, and would soon be the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. By the 1920′s, he had established a firm reputation and soon thereafter, he had become one of the most celebrated and adored poets in America. To many, even after his death in 1963, he still is.


Poetic Technique

Allusion: an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference.

In this poem, in line 6, Frost refers to “Eden”. It can be assumed that he is referring to the mythical Garden of Eden, a beautiful place where biblical Adam and Eve resided. It was known also as the Garden of God, and housed some of the most awe-inspiring plants of all time. It was a mecca of natural beauty. The reference calls upon an image of tranquility and almost solace; a place of peace and eternal beauty.


“Nature’s First Green Is Gold” is a widely known and celebrated poem. At first, on a superficial level, it appears to only be about the changing of the color of leaves. The first line, “Nature’s first green is gold,” could be attributed to the golden color of a sunrise or sunset, which is the “hardest hue to hold,” given their relatively short lengths. The fall or rise of the sun could be this beautiful “flower”. However, similar to the popular interpretation given in The Outsiders, the poem can be given a much more human nature. One could say that people with the most potential are usually so contaminated or disrupted to the point of failure or loss. A child’s innocence can easily be given the likes of this poem. A young child, full of joy and innocence, will not last long with such a mentality. Their “purity” will eventually be corrupted by the pains and heartaches of life. Nothing in nature can stay new, fresh, and beautiful forever, and people are not the exception. Everything changes over time. Nature changes and people change. What we see as an untouched and unbiased child is eventually morphed into an adult with none of its original golden hue. Especially given in today’s society, full of hatred and oppression, the notion of “staying gold” is lost on the ages. 




Visual Explanation

This image is unique in many ways. In the background, the sky is shown moving. In the foreground, a cutout of the sun is looped in with the rewind of the background’s sky. It is symbolic to the poem in the sense that while the sky is beautiful and golden, it will eventually reverse and lose its original charm. The background represents a child growing forward in age, while the foreground shows the innocence and childish tendencies losing hold. The way that the foreground and background are working against each other references both the “hardest hue to hold” and “nothing gold can stay.”

One thought on “Allusion

  1. Remember that periods and commas are always placed inside quotations marks–no exception to this rule.
    This is an almost perfect analysis. Your level of understanding of the nuances of meaning found in this poem is impressive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s