Study Guide

The Tuft of Flowers What's Up With the Title?

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What's Up With the Title?

As a poet, Robert Frost was not all that much for tricky titles. "The Road Not Taken" is about, well, a road that's…not taken. Similarly, "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" features a speaker who…stops by some woods…at night—when it's snowing.

In this same tradition, "The Tuft of Flowers" is about—wait for it—a tuft of flowers. Still, like Frost's other poems, simplicity can be deceiving. Sure, the poem features a tuft of flowers all right, but it's what these flowers represent that really informs the poem's message about human connection.

So how do you get from flowers to blissful togetherness? We're not talking about a special delivery of roses here. Instead, the crux of the poem focuses on the speaker's understanding of these flowers. Their existence, in a field full of mown grass, shows that someone passed them over. Whoever was mowing the field, slicing down the grass with a "whispering" scythe, decided—in the speaker's view anyway—that these pretty little suckers were just too beautiful to cut (34).

The speaker interprets this as the mower sparing the flowers from their execution in a moment of "sheer morning gladness" (30). Standing alone in the mowed field, then, the flowers serve as a reminder to the speaker that he is not alone in the world. The mower was there before him and, what's more, the leftover flowers are direct evidence of the mower's mind at work.

This is tremendous comfort to the speaker, who initially sees himself as utterly alone out in that field. The tuft of flowers, though, gives him a sign that someone was there before him, admiring the flowers and cutting around them. The speaker, now, gets to enjoy the flowers, but he enjoys even more that they remind him that he's not alone in the world. The influence of people's work and thinking are all around him. All he has to do is stop—and smell the butterfly weed.

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