illustrated portrait of American poet Robert Frost

Robert Frost

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"A poem begins in delight but ends in wisdom." What is the brief meaning of this line?

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Robert Frost's quote embodies poetry's allure and value to society. Frost begins by commenting on the natural appeal of a poem's topic and words. Readers are initially enticed and drawn to the composition of a poem, which provides a certain ascetic that captivates the reader's attention. The fluidity, imagery, and literary devices of a poem provide qualities that give the reader a pleasurable experience. As the reader indulges in the poem's artistic qualities, the poet's message is impressed upon the reader, which lends itself to a learning experience. This learning experience, found throughout the poem's symbolism, themes, metaphors, and analogies, impact the reader's perception of the world. Often, a poem's content can lead to an enlightening experience, which increases the reader's wisdom. Essentially, wisdom is the application of knowledge and awareness gained through learning. According to Robert Frost, poetry not only provides a pleasurable reading experience, it also offers the reader valuable insights, which can be applied to one's life.

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Robert Frost, the essential American poet, seemed to write simple poems with simple words and simple messages.  However, when you begin to study his words, complex subtlety emerges.  This line, "A poem begins in delight but ends in wisdom" is a perfect example.  This description of poetry allows the joy in the written word and the perfect example of saying much with a few words.  The end of the line "but ends in wisdom" illustrates the brilliant mind of Robert Frost, for he is saying that if we study a poem, we will gain the wisdom the author intended us to get from reading the poem.  So, while there is delight and joy at the perfection of words coming together to express an author's vision, wisdom is and should be a big part of what we gain from reading poetry. 

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