Nothing Gold Can Stay is an intelligent poem written by American poet Robert Frost. This poem, full of metaphors, teaches us about both life and nature. It relays truths about how they both parallel each other in their ability to be tainted by grief.
In the first line, using metonymy, Frost makes reference to birth in nature, ‘Nature’s first green is gold’ (Line 1). Birth in nature is most evident in the spring with the colour green, which represents fertility and youth, appearing. This green that is, in fact, gold means that birth in nature is rich, abundant, and beautiful, just like the actual metal. The line ‘Her hardest hue to hold’ is a personification of nature as a female figure, parallel to a human mother, who struggles to cling to that ‘golden stage’ of beauty and perfect innocence her offspring hold for ‘only so an hour’. With a sense of melancholic inevitability, Frost states that this ‘golden stage’ will be tainted by grief. Using literary allusion, Frost refers to Eden, which ‘sank to grief’ (Line 6), as a symbol of original sin, to further instill the idea of innocent beauty eventually subsiding as time goes on.
Frost uses metaphor and paradox with the line ‘So dawn goes down to day’. Generally, dawn is seen to rise to day, with day being the zenith of our existence. However, Frost states that dawn, where we are actually at our zenith and at our ‘golden age’ goes down and sinks to day. I feel like the concept of ‘day’ here represents the reality within which we live in. The concept of ‘dawn’ can represent either the dawn we experience daily or the dawn of humanity and the world. I feel like we all look at the idea of ‘day’ as representing enlightenment and beauty however, Frost teaches us that it is at dawn that both humans, and nature are at their most enlightened.
This poem is special because it reminds me of my childhood and growing up with my family. I was always happy as a child and I feel like, according to Frost, this would have been my ‘golden age’. Frost refers to nature and I think my mother embodies the characteristics of the Nature in Frost’s poem. She has always protected me because she feels I deserve the right to hold on to my childhood and my youth. She always tells me a story about how when she first took me home, she watched me sleep and she says she thought I was a beautiful baby with an innocent face. Whenever she let sunlight into the room and allowed me to look outside, I’d start crying and my innocent slumber would be broken. My mother likes to joke about how that’s the moment I realized the harsh realities of the world, it’s when I gained my first ounce of wisdom. Frost’s line ‘So dawn goes down to day’ reminded me of this story. It is when I witnessed daylight, which my mother innocently thought would delight me, that I became so upset. I preferred to stay inside, in the dark, away from the rest of the world. Just like the legendary Kadupul flower which dies at the first signs of daylight, I was happy to spend time inside, away from the realities of life (Atricle “Definition of broken family“).
In conclusion, Frost writes with a sense of dark inevitability and uplifting genius. This poem brilliantly encompasses the characteristics of the cycles of nature and life and shows us that though humanity subsides to grief, there is always a new dawn and a ‘golden age’ in sight.