Treasure Island

Robert Frost

(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963 / San Francisco)

Carpe Diem


Age saw two quiet children
Go loving by at twilight,
He knew not whether homeward,
Or outward from the village,
Or (chimes were ringing) churchward,
He waited, (they were strangers)
Till they were out of hearing
To bid them both be happy.
'Be happy, happy, happy,
And seize the day of pleasure.'
The age-long theme is Age's.
'Twas Age imposed on poems
Their gather-roses burden
To warn against the danger
That overtaken lovers
From being overflooded
With happiness should have it.
And yet not know they have it.
But bid life seize the present?
It lives less in the present
Than in the future always,
And less in both together
Than in the past. The present
Is too much for the senses,
Too crowding, too confusing-
Too present to imagine.

Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

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  • Stephen W (3/3/2013 9:09:00 AM)

    I think Frost is reconciled to the fact that people don't know how to live in the present. He accepts that's just the way it is. He is commenting on the futility of advising us to 'carpe diem'. The leopard cannot change its spots. That is what I think he is saying, I'm not sure he is correct. (Report) Reply

  • Grayson Cash (1/7/2013 10:03:00 AM)

    The message of this poem is not happiness. It is from the point of view of an old sad man, who wishes the young could realize that they are happy now, but knows they instead are looking to their future, missing their present lives. It is a sad poem. One filled with regret, and desire to relive the past, knowing that it is never to return.

    Much of Frost's poetry seems happy at first glance, but yet only a little below the surface is regret, loneliness, and sadness. I love it. (Report) Reply

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