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Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost

Man and the Natural World Theme

Be careful—if you read the title "Nothing Gold Can Stay" alone you might not even think of nature, but of money. This is a trap, because the poem is centered on the natural world and the types of gold we find there: the colors, the peace, the contentment. The poem covers leaves, flowers, sunrises, and perhaps the most famous garden of all, the biblical Garden of Eden. But that doesn't mean this is just your average look-how-pretty poem. Our speaker uses the imagery of nature to show his readers his thoughts about human life in general. This is a trend not just in this poem, but in many Frost poems. If you read enough of them, you get the feeling that we can learn everything we need to know from the natural world.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. What is the effect of the speaker's choice to use examples from the natural world?
  2. What do you think is the most beautiful thing in the natural world? Why? How do you think the speaker would answer this question?
  3. How do you imagine the setting of this poem?
  4. What do you think the speaker's relationship with nature is? Is he a total crunchy hiker, or does he dabble in strolls in the park?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The speaker uses examples from nature to prove that many things in the world are transient, not just leaves on trees.

This poem isn't a nature poem in the slightest. It's one big metaphor, and the speaker's concerns are with the human world, not the natural one.

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