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Reluctance

A poem by Robert Frost

Robert Frost
Robert Frost
  • Out through the fields and the woods
  • And over the walls I have wended;
  • I have climbed the hills of view
  • And looked at the world and descended;
  • I have come by the highway home,
  • And lo, it is ended.
  • The leaves are all dead on the ground,
  • Save those that the oak is keeping
  • To ravel them one by one
  • And let them go scraping and creeping
  • Out over the crusted snow,
  • When others are sleeping.
  • And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
  • No longer blown hither and thither;
  • The last lone aster is gone;
  • The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
  • The heart is still aching to seek,
  • But the feet question ‘Whither?’
  • Ah, when to the heart of man
  • Was it ever less than a treason
  • To go with the drift of things,
  • To yield with a grace to reason,
  • And bow and accept the end
  • Of a love or a season?


Robert Frost (1874–1963) was born in San Francisco and grew up in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where, after his father’s death, Frost’s mother supported the family as a schoolteacher. Frost attended Dartmouth and then Harvard but did not graduate from either. In 1912, Frost moved to England with his wife and four young children. There, at the age of 39, he published his first collection of poems,
A Boy’s Will, and two years later published North of Boston, which was acclaimed in England and later, thanks in part to a glowing review by the poet Amy Lowell, in the United States as well. Frost returned to the U.S. in 1915 with his family and bought a farm near Franconia, New Hampshire, and five years later moved to a farm in South Shaftsbury, Vermont, near Middlebury College. His wife died in 1938, two of his daughters suffered mental breakdowns, and his son committed suicide. He won the Pulitzer Prize four times and was made poetry consultant for the Library of Congress in 1958, a position which was the equivalent of England’s poet laureateship. His most famous reading was at the presidential inauguration of John Kennedy. In the final two decades of his life, Frost was America’s most famous and best loved living poet. “Reluctance” is the final poem in Frost’s first collection, A Boy’s Will.

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“I am a sinful man among sinful men — and I need redemption.”
Robert Frost
Robert Frost
  • Out through the fields and the woods
  • And over the walls I have wended;
  • I have climbed the hills of view
  • And looked at the world and descended;
  • I have come by the highway home,
  • And lo, it is ended.
  • The leaves are all dead on the ground,
  • Save those that the oak is keeping
  • To ravel them one by one
  • And let them go scraping and creeping
  • Out over the crusted snow,
  • When others are sleeping.
  • And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
  • No longer blown hither and thither;
  • The last lone aster is gone;
  • The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
  • The heart is still aching to seek,
  • But the feet question ‘Whither?’
  • Ah, when to the heart of man
  • Was it ever less than a treason
  • To go with the drift of things,
  • To yield with a grace to reason,
  • And bow and accept the end
  • Of a love or a season?


Robert Frost (1874–1963) was born in San Francisco and grew up in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where, after his father’s death, Frost’s mother supported the family as a schoolteacher. Frost attended Dartmouth and then Harvard but did not graduate from either. In 1912, Frost moved to England with his wife and four young children. There, at the age of 39, he published his first collection of poems,
A Boy’s Will, and two years later published North of Boston, which was acclaimed in England and later, thanks in part to a glowing review by the poet Amy Lowell, in the United States as well. Frost returned to the U.S. in 1915 with his family and bought a farm near Franconia, New Hampshire, and five years later moved to a farm in South Shaftsbury, Vermont, near Middlebury College. His wife died in 1938, two of his daughters suffered mental breakdowns, and his son committed suicide. He won the Pulitzer Prize four times and was made poetry consultant for the Library of Congress in 1958, a position which was the equivalent of England’s poet laureateship. His most famous reading was at the presidential inauguration of John Kennedy. In the final two decades of his life, Frost was America’s most famous and best loved living poet. “Reluctance” is the final poem in Frost’s first collection, A Boy’s Will.

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this is so beautiful i'm just stammered!!!

Jan. 5, 2012

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