Summary and Analysis of The Tuft of Flowers by Robert Frost: 2022


Born on March 26, 1872 in San Francisco, Robert Frost is among   the most famous American poets. Though he grew up in America, Robert’s works are far from the conventional American poetry, his writing style varies from the traditional norms of American poetry.  Robert is known mostly for his work concerning the landscape of England, his writings were also published first in the United Kingdoms and then in the United States.


“”The Tuft of Flowers” by Robert Frost is a beautiful poem that portrays the emotion of loneliness and inspires the readers to find peace in solitude.


The poem is set in a landscape filled with greenery, probably a small field or a garden filled with wild grass, weeds and flowers.


“I went to turn the grass once after one
Who mowed it in the dew before the sun.
The dew was gone that made his blade so keen
Before I came to view the leveled scene.
I looked for him behind an isle of trees;
I listened for his whetstone on the breeze.
But he had gone his way, the grass all mown,
And I must be, as he had been—alone,
“As all must be,” I said within my heart,
“Whether they work together or apart.”
“And once I marked his flight go round and round”
“On noiseless wing a bewildered butterfly”
“And then he flew as far as eye could see”
“At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook”


The speaker starts by telling that after one he went to mow the grass but the task was already completed. Someone else (the readers are not told who) had already mowed the grass, before the speaker arrived at the field. The speaker looks for that person behind the isle of tress, tries to hear the sound of him sharpening the blade of his scythe on the whetstone, but all his efforts are in vain. The speaker realizes that the person mowed the grass and left him all alone. The poet, in the next two lines, clarifies the message of the poem. The speaker says that he has been left alone by his mowing partner “as all must be”, it does not matter whether people work together or apart, at some point they end up felling alone. The speaker then notices a puzzled butterfly flying pass by him. The butterfly seems bewildered for it is searching the flowers which where present in the field before the mysterious person mowed them away along with the grass. The speaker then watches the butterfly flapping its wings shakily and flying all around the field, searching for its beloved flower, he loses the sight of the butterfly for some time but the butterfly again returns to the same spot. The speaker then starts to ponder about the unanswered questions of the universe, probably questions like,  why does one feel lonely while being in a world filled with trillions of creations.   He then decides to return back to his work of throwing away the cut, dried grass but then notices that the butterfly has found a bunch of flowers that were spared from the wrath of scythe. The speaker walks towards those flowers to know their kind and realizes that the flowers are “butterfly weed”. The speaker tells that the grass cutter loved these flowers and thus had saved them to flourish for the butterflies. But then the poet realizes that the flowers were not spared out of kindness but due to the grass cutter’s happiness, his good mood which must have been at brim in the beautiful morning. The bunch of flowers are able to lift the speaker’s spirits, he notices the butterfly flapping its wings in happiness. The flowers are a medium which connect the speaker with the nature, he now hears the sounds of the wakening birds, the whisper of his own scythe at work and no longer feels lonely. The speaker also feels connected to the mower, he takes a break for lunch and sits under shade during noon with the mower on his mind. The speaker describes this mysterious connection as a dream in which he gives a brotherly speech to the mower, he tells him that men always work together, it does not have to be necessarily a physical presence always.  


The poem is a beautiful and skillful representation of an emotion which is experienced universally. The poet here not only questions the feeling of being alone or loneliness but also provides an answer to this dilemma. The poet is able to preach the peace and happiness present in the acceptance of solitude.


The tone of the poem is calm and soothing, though it deals with a crucial concern of today’s world. The undertone of calmness is also highlighted by the beautiful scenery and imagery that runs throughout the poem.


“”The Tuft of Flowers” by Robert Frost is an amazing composition which teaches the readers to accept solitude and find happiness in the wonderful creations that surround us always.
Contributor: Radhika Goel

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