Robert Frost

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

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Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
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  • Rookie Sayz LFlynn (3/23/2009 7:46:00 AM)

    I think that 'Fire and Ice' is just a persona.Fire could be the upper class 'taste of desire' and that they live one way. while Ice is the lower jellous class 'enough of hate' but the message in the end is that we all die so we really should be the same. 'and would suffice' (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Denvor Fernandez (2/10/2009 1:41:00 AM)

    So true! We think of Global warming which will lead to an ice age. We talk about an end.Fire and ice is something which everyone has felt. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Ivan Lesiv (2/3/2009 7:48:00 PM)

    This poem really makes wonderful use of allegory and metaphor such that the possible interpretations for it are legion. That's what makes it so great, as all great poetry is open to interpretation; and the more open it is, the more multifacteted its mesage is to people, thus making it a wonderful representation of the human condition that speaks to those ubiqutous things we all feel, know and experience.

    I personally see it as a metaphor for the ongoing, eternal conflict between reason and emotion. When we think of pure resoning we usually see it as being void of all feeling. We may refer to bad-intentioned schemers as being 'cold and calculated.' Our scientists - who are supposed to comprise some of the most learned among us - work using a method based on strict logic and observation which is meant to cut out all emotion since its very hard to be objective when you're emotional. 'Cold logic' is an expression people sometimes use to something of this nature. And the phrase in his manifesto that finally got the Unabomber caught and discovered was 'cool-headed logician.' A person's reasoning powers and logic faculty are therefore represented by ice.

    Fire is an obvious metaphor for emotion (and a few other things too) . When we are angry, our faces may turn red, our body temperature may rise and we loose all control of ourselves as we burn furiously in a wild, unstoppable conflagration of rage. When we are deeply in love we also burn in a very similar way. How many love songs have you heard where the words 'fire' and 'desire' are used? They even rhyme with each other! In our colloquial speech, we may call someone whose sexually attractive 'hot, ' as lust is a powerful emotion too. When you're in love with someone it really does feel like you're burning. You have all this energy, all this passion, trapped inside you, tearing you apart as you struggle to keep your bearings and not break down into complete madness. That fire inside you is waiting to be unleashed on your beloved and engulf you both and... well... you get the idea.

    The end of the world is also brought up in the poem since excessive reasoning and use of logic as well as excess passion and emotion have the power to destroy us all, but in different ways. People have done some insane things when angry, in love or under the influence of any other powerful emotion that they would have never dreamed of doing with a cooler head. People have killed in the name of love (both themselves and each other) and they've started wars (the Iliad comes to mind) . When angry, some people may break things, get into fights and even kill each other. Excessive emotion has some very destructive potential.

    Ignoring emotion completely and denying it though, is not the answer because if we become encompassed in our minds and entertain only reason, we become cold and loose our humanity. That wouldn't destroy the world in the literal sense, like the fires of emotion can, but in every important sense, we'd be dead. We would still EXIST, but we'd be inhuman and thus dead. And isn't that apocalyptic enough? I agree with Frost that the world is more likely to be destroyed by fire (or emotion) , but death by ice would still suffice. It would still get the job done, only differently.

    Here's an interesting observation: what happens when you put ice near fire? It melts into water. And what is water? It is the elixir of life. We all need it and without it, all life would die (end of the world) . So if we can achieve a harmony between reason and emotion without ever letting either really take over, we become nurturing life-givers and protectors of life instead of its destroyers. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Spencer Campbell (1/14/2009 3:25:00 PM)

    It could be a poem about the life long struggle between Religion and Science. Religious zealouts and followers have always believed that the earth would end by fire and that the wicked would be burned in a hurry.

    Science generally predicts that we will go through another ice age freezing all of us very slowly and methodically.

    Just an idea. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Lu Wenchao (11/2/2008 9:43:00 PM)

    This poem is very wonderful.It demonstrate the delimma we human being face.At one point, our world is filled with fire, which means expanding desire for the material things, fame and sex.We are burning in this fire and feel the pain of it.But ironically, we will not dropp it for this pain but grasp it more tightly.At the opposite side, we are to cold to the other people.We do not care about anyone else except ourselves, and we do not care about anything except something that concerning our interests.In a simple world, we are living in a world full of fire and ice.We suffer from the pain of desire and coldness.However, the fire and the ice really have some connection.The fire is the cause of the ice.let me explain it.Due to the desire for the world, we turn into cold attitude towards others.That is the connection between them. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 1 Points May Namoc (7/24/2008 9:08:00 PM)

    i absolutely love this peice. frost is my fave poet. he was the one who inspired me to start writing. this poem in particular has such a lasting impression on me and it has such a deeper meaning than it lets on. THANK YOU MR. FROST! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Judy Hung (7/24/2008 6:03:00 AM)

    I love this poem and know it off by heart! Partly because it is included in Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Guillermo Alejandro (6/20/2008 6:34:00 PM)

    Fire could mean warm, pursuing only our own interestes, while ice detaching ourselves from the world and being uncaring about what happens.

    It is literally about the end of the world, but ice and fire, at least in my opinion, are just methaphors that we commonly attach to some emotions (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jarrid Ristau (6/10/2008 11:50:00 AM)

    Although the consensus seems to be that ice represents hate, has anyone else considered that it is symbolic of apathy? Furthermore, why does the fact that Frost says desire mean that that is what he intends fire to represent? Perhaps the poem is literally about the world ending, and fire suggests it will be in war and hate while ice means it will end due to apathy, because human beings cease to really care for each other. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Alicia Thompson (6/10/2008 8:33:00 AM)

    Dorian..if u were familiar with frost's work you would know that all of his poems are never straight forward and usually relate to him in some way. with regards to this poem frost lost his wife at some time in his life and (if the dates are right) fire could represent the love/passion/desire he had for her while she was living and ice could be the loneliness he is feeling after her death. thus explaining why he has experienced both fire and ice. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Lawlpewpew Pewpew (4/14/2008 4:00:00 PM)

    Fire and Ice are two elements which can be considered as opposed. In this poem these 2 elements are symbolic (you can also see it as personification If you are open minded)
    fire represents desire, lust
    ice represent hate
    These feelings are obviously opposed.
    The right question was posed by Maddi S.
    -Which will cause man downfall? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Coll B. Lue (3/10/2008 11:53:00 AM)

    Robert Frost as always very inspiring. A touch of the Armegeddon and very thought provoking! (Report) Reply

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