Robert Frost’s “October” uses both its form and content to depict a moment in time right before fall gives way to winter. Although the poem takes the form of one stanza, it can be roughly split into two parts that are different in terms of content and the type of speech employed.
In the first part, the speaker’s use of apostrophe—that is, the speaker’s address to October—is primarily descriptive. We learn that the leaves are about to fall and that the crows are preparing to fly away before winter arrives. In the second part of the poem, the purpose of apostrophe shifts as the speaker uses the imperative to command October:
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
The speaker’s request is almost absurd in its optimism, as he asks October to slow down, dropping only two leaves a day in a way that would stretch both time (“day,” “noon”) and space (“our trees,” “far away”). By asking to be beguiled, the...
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