Robert Frost

(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963 / San Francisco)

A Minor Bird


I have wished a bird would fly away,
And not sing by my house all day;

Have clapped my hands at him from the door
When it seemed as if I could bear no more.

The fault must partly have been in me.
The bird was not to blame for his key.

And of course there must be something wrong
In wanting to silence any song.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Rookie - 0 Points Grace Miao (9/25/2014 11:18:00 AM)

    I mean, it depends. If the bird has a sound of a shrill, extremely loud lady, I would probably want it to leave. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 328 Points Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/12/2013 2:28:00 AM)

    Birds will sing, donkeys bray
    But not for our ears so to say
    And we have no business silencing them
    When God so made them that way....

    All ye reading this welcome to my page too.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 328 Points Charley Hurt (11/9/2013 6:02:00 PM)

    In 1953 my eighth grade Sedalia school teacher, suggested to our class (if I remember correctly) that the bird sings in the musical 'A-Minor' key. That's the way that bird was created/evolved...to have that characteristic song. Another bird, or another animal or any person, may sing a different 'Tune'. But he has the same right to sing his song as we have the right to express our songs, views and talents. When we listen to ALL the 'songs' we can come to a better consensus. We may even find UNITY, as Heavenly Father desires. Music enriches our life. A chorus can be more pleasing than a solo. If only the best bird, or person 'sang', we would have very little music in our world and that music would be a solo. I think the early miners in gassy mines were glad to hear the 'little' bird sing. I think all the meanings attached by others to Robert Frost's poem have merit...Which one is True? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 328 Points Nikki Pierre (7/26/2013 1:21:00 PM)

    I think this poem is about oppression. The man is bothered by the voice of the bird and wants to take away the bird's right to express itself in the way that comes naturally to it. But he realizes that the fault is not in the bird, but in his low tolerance for the bird's form of expression. There is something wrong in trying to silence any song- or any form of expression or someone else's happiness. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 328 Points Nilay Shah (6/26/2013 2:59:00 PM)

    I think the minor bird is a trivial thought that Frost does not want to think about anymore but he cant get it out of his head. Simple, elegant! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 328 Points Tj Zimmer (5/31/2013 1:16:00 AM)

    I think the man symbolizes the competitive society and the bird symbolizes the nature.We can say this poem tells us about the HUMANS distance from the NATURE. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 328 Points Aram Thaggard (5/7/2013 4:21:00 PM)

    I think it's about the remorse one feels after rejecting the validity of silver linings in the world.

    Obviously he's grouchy, wishing, willing, and trying the bird away to the point of exasperation, yet at the turning point he realizes that it's not the bird who is at fault, but him, for not acknowledging the beauty of the bird's song before he drove it away. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 138 Points Stephen W (2/12/2013 2:25:00 PM)

    I think this poem is actually straightforward, rather than allegorical. We don't always like the things we think we ought to like, and are internally conflicted and guilty. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,495 Points Ruwanal Liyanage (10/24/2012 8:15:00 AM)

    i think its about how poor people suffer in this world. In this poem, the poet has used the word Minor with the intention of referring to poor people. the rich person shows very little appetite in listening to what poor says. he wants to chase away the poor person. But soon after accomplishing his sinister objective, he realizes that he has done something wrong. the rich person tells to himself that for there to be poor people, something wrong has been done by the rich persons in this society and we cannot simply put the blame on poor people. finally the poet tells to himself that if rich people wants to stop crying of these humbles, necessarily there should be something wrong with the society. At this particular time, even though he represents rich, he comes out of his inherited class and looks at rich persons in a questioning mind. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,495 Points Ruwanal Liyanage (10/24/2012 8:14:00 AM)

    i think its about the how poor people suffer in this world. In this poem, the poet has used the word Minor with the intention of referring to poor people. the rich person shows very little appetite in listening to what poor says. he wants to chase away the poor person. But soon after accomplishing his sinister objective, he realizes that he has done something wrong. the rich person tells to himself that for there to be poor people, something wrong has been done by the rich persons in this society and we cannot simply put the blame on poor people. finally the poet tells to himself that if rich people wants to stop crying of these humbles, necessarily there should be something wrong with the society. At this particular time, even though he represents rich, he comes out of his inherited class and looks at rich persons in a questioning mind. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,495 Points Roberto Echanes (8/6/2010 8:19:00 AM)

    Another meaning that came to mind is that the bird, as in Maya Angelou's 'Caged Bird', is the metonymy for the people and his song is his voice. The people raise their voice to protest or to express their views on the social injustices of this time. But the speaker/poet is tired or feels annoyed to hear this all day long. So he does something to scare away the people expressing their views. Perhaps he wrote something to counter their views. He feels it is their right to air their discontent or views, so he feels guilty for his actions as he knows he is going against democracy and the principles of 'freedom of speech'. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,495 Points Roberto Echanes (8/5/2010 1:59:00 PM)

    I have observed that Robert Frost favourite metre is the 'anapaest' in trimetre. He observes standard structure of poetry or we can say 'traditional standards'.

    This poem can be read in different layers of meaning. It could be interpreted 'literally' as an act of sour mood in which he does not tolerate the beauty of nature. However, poets use many devises to foreground language and create a deeper meaning. A similar devise was used by Maya Angelou in her poem 'Caged Bird'. So, the bird is a synechdoche or metaphor for a person who perhaps the speaker loves (could be a child or a lover) but is disturbed by him or her, even though her or his voice has all the beauty and charm. Hence, he expresses regret that his driving away a loving person is partly his fault and he wishes that he wouldn't have done that. In fact he feels guilt as he expresses: 'And of course there must be something wrong,
    in wanting to silence any song.' (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,495 Points Andrew Hoellering (12/31/2009 1:25:00 AM)

    As so often with Frost, this simple poem works on more than one level.
    The cry of geese flying to winter elsewhere, even the laughter of a child can strike a discordant note with us if we happen to be in an unreceptive mood.
    As is clear from the fate of the rainforests, we ignore nature’s equal right to existence at our peril.
    PS - Suggest you look up the meaning of 'diction, ' Anne. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,495 Points Anne Smith (12/13/2009 1:50:00 PM)

    There is no diction, but the choice of words is great.
    It DOES have a traditional rhyme structure.
    Overall, excellent poem, and very inspirational. This poem makes me relate to my past.







    English Teacher(Wyoming)
    -Anne (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,495 Points C C (3/13/2009 10:05:00 PM)

    if only we were all as understanding of the world around us. (Report) Reply

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