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once by the pacific
Posted by: bdiemer (---.netonecom.net)
Date: January 27, 2004 11:57PM

Who is the speaker of the poem?


Re: once by the pacific
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: January 28, 2004 12:40AM

Once by the Pacific

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God's last 'Put out the Light' was spoken.

-- Robert Frost

The narrator in the poem is an omniscient observer, one who knows all. He
is prophesying about what is to occur.


Re: once by the pacific
Posted by: marian2 (---.in-addr.btopenworld.com)
Date: January 28, 2004 04:32AM

Sorry Les, don't agree. To me it reads as a descriptive poem greatly informed and influenced by the author's mood. In other words, the weather was menacing, probably in a slightly unusual way, and the writer's mood made him feel that the menace was extraorodinary, perhaps even apocalyptic. (this is what Judgment Day will be like - perhaps it IS Judgment Day!) It MAY be a deliberate extrapolation - I've always felt that a really good writer can and should be able to extrapolate a headache into a death agony, and minimize a heart attack into a hiccup - just as an exercise. It captures the mood of the author and the weather extremely well and is a very interesting poem - new to me. Thanks for posting it.


Re: once by the pacific
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt11.mel1.da.uu.net)
Date: January 28, 2004 09:23AM

Well said, Marian2, though maybe you overrate this particular poem.

Am I astray in detecting a certain immature or frivolous quality in it? E.g.:
'Great waves looked over others... / And thought of doing something to the shore ...' (!)
'...it looked as if / The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff' (!) [more pathetic fallacy; and metrically clumsy: would be better with 'lucky to be backed by'].

This poem is new to me too, and I wonder whether it's a piece of Frost juvenilia.


Re: once by the pacific
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: January 28, 2004 11:44AM

There is a discussion of the poem here:

[www.cs.rice.edu] />

Les


Re: once by the pacific
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: January 28, 2004 01:50PM

I'd say the speaker is the poet himself.

pam


Re: once by the pacific
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: January 28, 2004 02:15PM

According to this website, I'd say the speaker is a "fused/narrator" whatever that is:

[www.unc.edu] />

Les


Re: once by the pacific
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: February 02, 2004 06:13PM


I agree that the speaker is EXTREMELY SUBJECTIVE, but that means the speaker is NOT the poet himself. He's standing off to the side, writing about how the scene would look if you were frightened by it.

Here's a SLIGHT revision, to make my point. You can probably tell which are my added lines:


He stood upon the shore and watched as
The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God's last 'Put out the Light' was spoken.
But then he took his medication and lightened up.


Re: once by the pacific
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt2.mornington.au.da.uu.net)
Date: February 04, 2004 03:25AM

Thanks Marian-NYC. Those extra lines make a disproportionate improvement to the sense of this poem. We need to imagine them when reading the original!


Re: once by the pacific
Posted by: Rhoda (---.taconic.net)
Date: February 06, 2004 09:54PM

Thanks for the link -les, Enjoyed the read




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