The Tuft of Flowers Power Point annotations

The Tuft of Flowers
Robert Frost
Annotations Power Point
Time is established and some ambiguity is
suggested by ‘once’ - implies this is a reflection.
Alliteration of ‘once after one’ – the singularity of
human purpose Frost’s ‘sound of sense’ – physical
action and senses are united.
I went to turn the grass once after one
Who mowed it in the dew before the sun.
The dew was gone that made his blade so keen
Before I came to view the levelled scene
There is a sense that scene is one of destruction –
devoid of life -a ruined place – contrast with later
The negative connotations of the language ‘levelled’, and’ keen’, ‘blade’ and ‘gone’. The ‘levelled
scene’ can also be interpreted as a metaphor for the
persona’s perception of life and the world .
Personal pronoun
establishes the persona’s
isolation and feeling of
separateness. A reflection
of a past event where
‘once’ he ‘went to turn the
grass’ and how this had a
transformative effect on
his self understanding and
an understanding of
others. This is about a
moment of illumination
about the self – about
individual understanding.
Note the precision of the
language to replicate the sound of
the scythe and the effect on the
persona of the mown field.
Rhyming scheme suggests finality
and dismay.
Continuing use of personal pronouns. Sense of
desperation in seeking the mower. Desire for
fellowship and unity with another.
Strict AA BB rhyme – couplets also may allude to
notion of friendship and unity with another.
Antithesis – whetstone and breeze.
I looked for him behind an isle of trees;
I listened for his whetstone on the breeze.
Reference to the
senses –’ looked for’,
‘listened for’ –
yearning for another.
Loneliness. ‘Isle of
trees’ paradox –
suggesting an ‘island’
- separateness.
Paradox of life and
death – nature and
the scythe; of
loneliness and unity
But he had gone his way, the grass all mown,
And I must be, as he had been – alone,
‘But’ suggests futility – left alone.
Resignation that he was alone. Disconsolate
at being alone - a disconcerting discovery –
isolation in nature. A realisation that we are
essentially always alone but how can we
embrace this?.
Sense of singularity as being the
basis of the human condition. We
are always alone – pathetic fallacy
of isle of trees and man’s
Paradox of ‘said’ and ‘within my
heart’. A felt thought. Belief that
there is no sense of connection
between us if we are separate.
Resigned to sense of loneliness and isolation.
Personal dialogue – contemplative.
Butterfly is ‘bewildered’ – personified.
Represents the human psyche –
‘As all must be, I said within my heart,
‘Whether they work together or apart.’
But as I said it, swift there passed me by
On noiseless wing a bewildered butterfly,
The use of ‘but’ alerts us to a
change. Sudden intrusion into his
melancholy reveries.
Trying to make sense of human
Senses – ‘noiseless’ - unlike the
plodding movement of the early
part of the poem – now ‘swift’
energy and revitalisation.
The butterfly is personified –
repetition of ‘s’ a the beginning
of lines suggests a growing
drowsiness - wistfulness
Need to rekindle memories to evoke positive
thoughts. Lift the spirit. Flower is also
personified. Nature taking on human qualities.
Beginning of the realisation that nature
imbues us with a kindred-ness. Notion of
communication at a spiritual level.
Seeking with memories grown dim o’er night
Some resting flower of yesterday’s delight.
And once I marked his flight go round and round,
As where some flower lay withering on the ground
Affirms a kind of directionless
searching- seeking the right
location – stored memory of
beauty and place.
Persona thinks the pursuit
by the butterfly will be
wasted – all the flowers are
lying ruined in the field.
Play on words – ‘eye could see’ – of seeing
further – looking beyond the immediate.
Hesitance of the psyche – returns to
question. Two personas – ‘I’ and ‘he’
And then he flew as far as eye could see,
And then on tremulous wing came back to me.
I thought of questions that have no reply,
And would have turned to toss the grass to dry;
But he turned first, and led my eye to look
The persona returns to his
internal musings on the nature of
existence – loneliness - but the
butterfly has drawn his eye - note
play on words of ‘eye’ -‘I’. Links to
psyche and inner soul and later
reference to ‘And dreaming as it
were….’ suggests a reconciliation
between the external and internal
selves. A determination to see the
world as good and beautiful
regardless of being solitary.
At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook,
Linkage of the word ‘turned’
suggests a pivotal moment –
note the repetition and
significance of ‘eye’ and
Contradiction in ‘tall’ and ‘tuft’. Both
strong and fragile – repetition of ‘f’ sound
– wispy aura. Fluttering moment – a
coming to the moment of realisation and
Image of flowers – a strident comment – a call to
the persona to see them. Repetition of ‘s’ sound
simulates the sound of the scythe cutting grass.
Full stops suggest feeling of achievement.
A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared
Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared.
I left my place to know them by their name,
Finding them butterfly weed when I came.
‘butterfly weed’ – the weeds offer beauty. –
now blooms. Antithesis – contradiction of
beauty and corruption/intrusions. Sheer joy at
the morning’s beauty sees the mower leave the
weed/flowers standing. The duality of
existence – life and death/beauty and
corruption. They do not diminish his work or
his pleasure in nature.
A leaping tongue –
contradictory image –
force of nature to engage
the persona – it speaks to
him through its urgent
stand ‘leaping’ and
colour – ‘bloom’. Life in
the face of death
symbolised by the
flowers ‘bloom’ and the
Contradiction of the mower not
thinking of the persona yet the
persona makes a decision to see the
flowers as a symbol of unity with the
Repetition of sounds – ‘thus’ ‘flourish’ ‘us’ and
consonance of ‘gladness’. Unity evoked through
sound and imagery of ‘dew,’ ‘morning’ and ‘brim’
suggests lifting mood. Persona has undergone a
spiritual renewal and intellectual awareness.
The mower in the dew had loved them thus,
By leaving them to flourish, not for us,
Nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him.
But from sheer morning gladness at the
Persona sees the mower as
benevolent even though he gave
no thought to the persona. The
flowers are spared : the mower
‘s shared joy of their beauty sharing beauty with others.
Leaving the flowers standing –
an act of fellowship with those
that may come to the field later.
An enlightening moment for
the persona – that humans
share beauty whether it be art,
nature, thoughts, love, writing
etc. - all are acts of fellowship
left for others to share.
Belief in the power of nature to evoke life.
Accepts the mower did not think of others
sharing in the beauty of the flowers but shares a
common understanding of the power of nature’s
beauty to encourage life and living.
The ‘butterfly and I’ –the persona’s psyche now finding
balance and unity in this moment of insight. Alerts his
senses – stimulates his awareness of the beauty of the
world. Goes beyond the physical lack of human contact
to something much more sublime – the notion of
transcendence from the physical world to the spiritual.
Both have listened to the ‘dawn’.
Man in communication with
natural landscape. Couplets are
punctuated with commas – faster
pace and greater fluency as the
persona’s mood rises reflecting
the intensity of his discovery
The butterfly and I had lit upon,
Nevertheless, a message from the dawn,
That made me hear the wakening birds around,
And hear his long scythe whispering to the ground,
Senses are awakened. Listens to
nature and heeds its offerings.
Symbolism of birds and
butterflies – flight – liberation of
The persona has come to an
awakening about his existence
and need for companionship. A
greater understanding of the
meaning of fellowship –
transcends physical and
incorporates the imagination and
the emotional. Unity of all living
things. Whether together or
apart, imagination and
spirituality are a unifying bond
with all things in nature.
A shift to unity of the sense – persona now ‘feels a spirit
kindred to my own’ – resolution of the sense of
separateness and isolation. Integration of the internal
feelings of loneliness resolved through awareness of
human spirit to rise to the beauty in nature. Duality of
inner self and external world resolved – he has found
balance in natural world and a belief in man’s place in
the wider meaning of life, death and nature.
personal voice
- rising mood.
Positive tone
‘kindred’, ‘glad’ .
And feel a spirit kindred to my own;
So that henceforth I worked no more alone;
But glad with him, I worked as with his aid,
And weary, sought at noon with him the shade
Belief in the power of work and toil in
nature to be life affirming and spiritually
uplifting achieved through the unifying of
the spirit and being.
Here ‘But’ is revisited –
now implies something
good. Renewed optimism.
Unity with the butterfly- a
sense of companionable
solace in working together
But glad with him, I worked as with his aid,
And weary, sought at noon with him the shade;
Optimism evident in language
of ‘dreaming’, ‘brotherly’ –
And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech
achieved a sense of spiritual
With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach.
‘Men work together,’ I told him from the heart,
‘Whether they work together or apart.’
The discovery of the spiritual unity that can exist if
we use our imagination and listen to the natural
world. An understanding that fellowship transcends
physical presence – shared sense of experience,
imagination and aesthetics of nature
Lost in the absorption of the butterfly ‘s search for beauty and the memory of a flower in a field now
‘levelled’, the persona makes a realisation about a need for fellowship and companionship. In a quest for
unity with his fellow man there is an equally satisfying unity and contentment in nature when we become
mesmerised or absorbed in the beauty of nature.
The greatest fellowship may occur when we allow our thoughts, our being and the natural world to merge . It
is when we consciously seek fellowship that we perhaps will be disappointed or lack awareness of the richer
opportunities for introspection and reflection when we are alone with our thoughts and the natural
landscape. Sometimes discoveries can be unexpected and seemingly insignificant yet when realised they
make for enriching and maturing experiences – they can be enduring and become part of the development of
our adult selves.
Such moments offer new understandings of ourselves and our place in the world. These moments of reverie
and insight help us to accept the nature of human being – that in solitude there is opportunity for
reinvigoration of the psyche – that nature and its beauty can be a salve for loneliness or loss. The landscape
and our place in the landscape offers redemptive opportunities to the human spirit that go beyond the
material and social world of human activity. As such we develop new perceptions of our selves and our
relationships with others.
Such moments allow us to re-evaluate our place in the world and even the importance of earlier discoveries.
Such discoveries are intensely personal and individualistic.
It is through such even the most mundane experiences of our daily lives that we can make insightful and
intensely meaningful discoveries.

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