Frost’s Design of Emblems


Frost’s poem is obviously representative of the emblem structure as he is offering description in the first stanza and switching to meditative thought in the second. Being in this particular structure, I feel that it was almost facilitated for Frost in his ability to shift the poem in the second stanza.

His descriptions are extremely precise which I think is the reason it’s so easy to go from him describing the spider, the moth, and the witches broth, to the questioning that accompanies these ideas in the second stanza. He describes, “dimpled spider, fat and white” and “holding up a moth/Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth…” Frost gives us just enough description to make a clear picture for the reader but does not make his lines so incredibly lengthy that they’re hard to follow. He also incorporates a rhyme scheme, which makes everything relatable and pulls the reader down the page to see how the first stanza is physically describing what is seen, and the last stanza is pondering the observations.

The reason the reader is so easily able to identify the turn of this poem is because Frost doesn’t leave any discrepancy. It’s very obvious when his shift beings because he starts questioning what he had previously observed. He then gets into complex ideas involving the argument of Intelligent Design, which actually became very appealing to me because I did not expect it. There’s also a separate stanza for the reflection, and the white space between the two stanzas really aids in allowing the reader to recognize the change.

I definitely think that as a writer, if I concentrated my efforts, the structure Frost displays would really help me to create a strong poem that is well constructed. I also enjoy the idea of having an element of surprise that no one anticipates like we see in the final lines, “What but design of darkness to appall?/If design govern in a thing so small,” which directly relates to the idea of Intelligent Design. I really like the final twist that Frost gives to the poem and I find that a very attractive feature in his poem.

 -Amber

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