Art · Listening to nature

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be—
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?

Recently I have started reading Robert Frost’s poem. His verses possess some appealing and engaging indecisiveness of choices, paths or acts, always trying to find some hidden meaning in nature and its creatures. In general he portrays the world with the eyes of singular 1st person. But here he has taken a different route, analyzing the behavior of 3rd person and that even plural. Sticking to his love of life i.e. nature, he finds himself around sea waves. He points towards human tendency to look in only one direction, away from reality, in other people’s life . People are here sitting on sand and looking towards sea, as if despite being in the land of action, they are searching for the solution of their problem in a world far way and far deep. It seems that they are finding similarity about themselves and their actions somewhere in sea.

People sitting on the sand saw a ship in the sea which in order to pace up, keeps raising its hull. Like a refection in glass they find this speeding up of ship same as their own situation. They keenly observe the ship which keeps throttling its engine to its full strength as long as it is required it enables itself to match the voracious strength of waves.

Frost here say that the ground realities ‘may’ vary from what is observed among sea waves. The use of ‘may’ again shows dubiousness leaving room for reader to interpret. He might want to say that sometimes it is not just enough to put your best effort. He is not really interested here in truth. Instead he finds the human behavior more intriguing who again turns itself to shore, to the water.

The people discussed here only sees the ship getting kicking off but what happens to them after that in deep and far ocean, they are not even aware. There is a limitation to the extent they see others managing with waves, handling their problem. One can put himself in other’s shoes only metaphorically. But again they are not to be blamed as they never know how much they have seen and how much they haven’t. There was no scale attached to the part they judged other’s journey on.

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2 thoughts on “Neither Out Far Nor In Deep

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