What does this poem mean , what is its central symbol???
A Peck of Gold
by Robert Lee Frost
Dust always blowing about the town,
Except when sea-fog laid it down,
And I was one of the children told
Some of the blowing dust was gold.
All the dust the wind blew high
Appeared like god in the sunset sky,
But I was one of the children told
Some of the dust was really gold.
Such was life in the Golden Gate:
Gold dusted all we drank and ate,
And I was one of the children told,
'We all must eat our peck of gold.'
In the English imperial system of measurements, a 'peck' (as celebrated in the tongue twister 'Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper') is a two gallon volume of any dry substance. Seems a lot of dust to eat!
Surely there's no one 'central symbol' in this poem. There are two: dust and gold, which can be taken as symbolising the polarities of poverty and wealth, reality and romance, or fact and fancy.
Though poor children may have to live in the dust, and eat dirt as it were, when they have no other standards to go by, they are ready and willing to romanticise their circumstances and to believe grown-ups' assurances that they are rich.
I doubt that this is meant to condemn the comforting lies that innocent children get told. Rather, I read it as a poem of nostalgia for the 'golden age' of childhood.