Treasure Island

Robert Frost

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

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Fire and Ice


Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Monday, August 18, 2014

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  • Sagnik Chakraborty (9/10/2014 11:05:00 AM)

    Concise and very apt, the poem sums up two intrinsic aspects of the human race beautifully. Frost is one of my favourites for his imagery and effortless rhyme schemes. (Report) Reply

  • Anthony Di''anno (8/29/2014 4:14:00 AM)

    Very illuminating considering the trend at the moment to have buckets of ice water tipped over oneself. Which in reality is a satanic purificatiom ritual prior to sacrifice. I know of one person at least who chose to have a bucket of slurry tipped over them.

    Ah well each to their own.
    Makes one wonder what Robert really knew. (Report) Reply

  • Anthony Di''anno (8/29/2014 4:13:00 AM)

    Very illuminating considering the trend at the moment to have buckets of ice water tipped over oneself. Which in reality is a satanic purificatiom ritual prior to sacrifice. I know of one person at least who chose to have a bucket of slurry tipped over them.

    Ah well each to their own.
    Makes one wonder what Robert really knew. (Report) Reply

  • Anthony Di''anno (8/29/2014 4:11:00 AM)

    Very illuminating considering the trend at the moment to have buckets of ice water tipped over oneself. Which in reality is a satanic purificatiom ritual prior to sacrifice. I know of one person at least who chose to have a bucket of slurry tipped over them.

    Ah well each to their own.
    Makes one wonder what Robert really knew. (Report) Reply

  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (8/21/2014 4:46:00 PM)

    very timely poem for the events happening today..or actually anytime in human history..the earth's life forms have been destroyed ice water meteors volcanoes you name and it's happened..very chilling as always Robert Frost is my favorite.. (Report) Reply

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (8/21/2014 10:53:00 AM)

    And we have sufficient ones to make it happen
    In deep sea submarines or silos of the earth
    Waiting for the next big war to earnestly begin
    And all the nukes will flower in the valley of death.........

    We human beings are the most stupid of all species that inherit this planet. We have so many advanced technologies for war and too little to enhance peace and happiness. I dream of world sans borders and where every man treats the other as his brother/sister and live as children play in gardens. It is possible if we work towards it........

    I welcome all those reading this to my page too for valuable comments on my poems too (Report) Reply

  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (8/21/2014 4:24:00 AM)

    I think that the poem's meanings are very important and human desire will not end there by fire or ice and a great poem from the great poet. (Report) Reply

  • Aftab Alam Khursheed (8/18/2014 2:02:00 PM)

    The world will end in fire or ice is immaterial..Poet insisted about hatred.(Hat- red) that is the fire of inferno that will melt the ice (peace of the world..so it is science that talked about supernova or dwarf star as the fate of our sun..but our fate for destruction is hatred the curse of humanity...beautiful thought..I always salute him..thank u PH (Report) Reply

  • Noorie Khan (8/15/2014 2:29:00 PM)

    All roads lead to destruction inevitably however as said in this poem we get to choose our downfall (Report) Reply

  • Alvin Mingle (7/9/2014 8:46:00 AM)

    Great Poem. Love the juxtaposition of Fire and Ice symbolizing the positives and negatives (Report) Reply

  • Melikhaya Zagagana (5/4/2014 10:07:00 AM)

    From a man who truly lived, he really never disappoint and continues to lead from the front. I also think the world will end in fire. (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (4/27/2014 12:44:00 AM)

    ......truly one of the greatest poems ever written....wish I wrote this poem....a true masterpiece... (Report) Reply

  • Tawfeeq Hasan Khan (4/16/2014 5:32:00 AM)

    i am just of 14 now and quite inexperienced and have just stepped into the vast ocean of poetry.I would like to request you to comment on my poems to let me know the real depth of that ocean of poetry.Thank you, may the dusk in your life be lit by fireflies and you get the similar light as that you get in dawn... (Report) Reply

  • Stephen W (3/26/2014 11:52:00 PM)

    While there is much merit in Wahab Abdul's analysis, I think there is also an elliptically autobiographical element here. 'From what I've tasted of desire...' He is obliquely saying that these forces have wreaked destruction in his own life. (Report) Reply

  • Wahab Abdul (12/12/2013 12:09:00 AM)

    The concise, laconic, perfect and perfectly savage Fire and Ice, the antithesis of the long-winded New Hampshire, belongs with the apocalyptic Once by the Pacific. The alternatives in the title represent passion and hatred, two ways of destroying the world. The poem was inspired by a passage in Canto 32 of Dante's Inferno, in which the betrayers of their own kind are plunged, while in a fiery hell, up to their necks in ice: a lake so bound with ice, / It did not took like water, but like a glass... right clear / I saw, where sinners are preserved in ice. The last, understated word in Frost's poem, suffice, clinches the meaning (like difference in The Road Not Taken) by rhyming with the two lines that end in ice and enclosing that thematic word within itself (Report) Reply

Read all 157 comments »

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