Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(27 February 1807 – 24 March 1882 / Portland, Maine)

Arrow and the Song, The


I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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# 136 poem on top 500 Poems


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  • Gold Star - 10,094 Points * Sunprincess * (6/30/2014 5:29:00 PM)

    ............ohh I totally love this poem....truly one of the best poems I have read today....adding to my poem collection.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jelah Trapago (10/22/2013 8:19:00 PM)

    this is the first english poem i've read...my grandfather gave me a copy of this when i was 9 years old.....now i'm 14, i still love this poem.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Naz Tliachev (8/28/2012 3:05:00 AM)

    Nothing disappers in the thin air....Arrow - what you did bad (without control): and the song - good that remains in the heart of your friends. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Daniel Hu (1/18/2012 4:30:00 PM)

    the arrow means the friend and he found it unbrken and also found his friend with the song he lost so this song is abount finding something then losing it (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 13 Points Ravi A (7/30/2009 11:26:00 AM)

    The spirit of the poem is well and clear. Arrow represents our material world and song represents the subjective, spiritual world. It represents the genuineness of our heart. We may or may not get back the returns from the material world for our deeds but if our songs are genuine we can certainly get a true echo of ourselves in the hearts of people and friends. Our genuineness would live through the generations for that matter. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Gracefair Xue (7/5/2007 2:40:00 AM)

    this poem praises friendship.You may not know whether your contribution to friendship is valued at the time you show it, but one day to your surprise, you will find there are people who have cherish the frienship with you. Especially today, we are too busy to share many things with friends as people used to do, we can only hope that someday we can find it somewhere. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sam Strode (4/26/2007 11:50:00 PM)

    It is a very interesting poem, but what I have been reading about the author that he doesn't write in the abstract so it makes me wonder if longfellow was an enivromentalist, the oak being his friend and not two different incidences (Report) Reply

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