Treasure Island

Robert Frost

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

A Prayer in Spring


Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Dylan Archer (1/1/2014 5:52:00 PM)

    He's saying god is the one who made reproduction thereby sanctifying it, but we have to be the ones to enact it. (Report) Reply

  • Lesley Gorton (4/19/2013 1:45:00 AM)

    to Mary Cross. Dont get too involved, just accept that Gods Love is proved by his Creation, specially in Spring.In the every day we lose awareness of God and suddenly we are moved to feel it by the marvel of rebirth in the spring tide. (Report) Reply

  • Mary Cross (4/3/2013 5:44:00 PM)

    I have a question of the meaning of the last stanza. I understand that the poem asks to enjoy to beauty of the moment, Spring and not to worry about the uncertain harvest. In the first line of the last stanza, the mystery, beauty of Spring is love and nothing else is love. This is where my confusion begins. Is love/mystery/ beauty/spring reserved for God about....to use whatever way he wants. Does God, mystery, beauty of Spring need something.....are we the only fulfilment...or are we supposed fulfil something? I'm interested in what others might have to say. (Report) Reply

  • Stephen W (2/13/2013 6:17:00 PM)

    To Andrew Hoellering:
    The last verse is not awkwardly expressed, it just isn't as simple as Frost usually is.
    It requires a high level of language skill to construe. He usually avoids this, but on this occasion found it necessary. It's extremely elegant, perhaps we find it difficult because it uses expressions which are no longer current ('the which') . (Report) Reply

  • Walterrean Salley (4/29/2012 2:24:00 AM)

    In this prayer, Frost has painted a beautiful portrait of the sping, in which he is careful to focus on the positive only. In the last verse...

    For this is love and nothing else is love,
    The which it is reserved for God above
    To sanctify to what far ends He will,
    But which it only needs that we fulfil.

    Frost sees and feels God's love in the joy of all such beauty. And acknowledges God. He knows that it is all for God's purpose. And that without the sanctity of God's blessings, such could not, and would not be. (Report) Reply

  • Bhaswat Chakraborty (3/28/2009 5:25:00 AM)

    Frost breaks the trichotomy of prayer, love and God. He finds the unity of the three in the beauty of the spring, the beauty of the present! (Report) Reply

  • Andrew Hoellering (2/24/2009 6:21:00 PM)

    The last verse is akwardly expressed -unusual for Frost.The poem reads like a prayer, and the thought behind it has been well expressed by Erich Fromm: 'Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing and walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air is not worth all the suffering and effort which live implies? ' (Report) Reply

  • Marilyn Warmington (3/12/2008 11:25:00 PM)

    The poem creates a moving picture of spring in the orchard. Those trees grow wild and the white blossoms never cease to bring me happiness. The description of the way the bees pollinate brings the belief that nature is so remarkable. The simplest things are not only majestic but God-given. (Report) Reply

  • Robert Howard (7/31/2006 9:06:00 AM)

    This gracious hope filled poem has been given a beautiful hymn setting that is included in the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook. (Report) Reply

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