Treasure Island

Robert Frost

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

Devotion


The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to ocean -
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Kuba Jasinski (7/26/2012 5:34:00 PM)

    It is so great not due to its perfect form, but most through philosophical weight, truly wonderful in such a short piece. Ocean needs shore to its existence and vice versa, no ocean shore can exist without being boundary for the body of water. So what we have here is a relation of something and its complement. Quite unexpectedly poetry and mathematics meet in this poem. What can actually sound more abstract than the last two lines with curve of one position and endless repetition? Nothing could contrast more to devotion - a human quality.

    I admit it's just one face of it, but the better the poem, the more astray one goes analysing it. (Report) Reply

  • Andrew Hoellering (12/28/2009 3:21:00 AM)

    Frost is able to capture so much in just a few words.
    ‘Shore to ocean’ is a most effective metaphor, its static quality brilliant enhanced by the waves implied in the last line of the poem.
    The constancy and reliability suggested here is implicit in the phrase ‘for better or worse, for richer or poorer’ as it is also present in Hamlet’s ‘this above all, to thine own self be true.' (Report) Reply

  • Margot Anderson (11/12/2006 2:02:00 PM)

    There's a really neat sculpture outside the Burbank Branch of the Portland Public Library (Portland, ME, that is) in tribute to this poem. Check it out if you're in town. (Report) Reply

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