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hi, I need help with understanding the meaning of the poem "In a Vale" by Robert Frost, and I need to make a oral explication in class; but I can't find mcuh about this poem online. Please help!!!:$
Responses are appricated Emotion: big smile
When I was young, we dwelt in a vale
By a misty fen that rang all night,
And thus it was the maidens pale
I knew so well, whose garments trail
Across the reeds to a window light.

The fen had every kind of bloom,
And for every kind there was a face,
And a voice that has sounded in my room
Across the sill from the outer gloom.
Each came singly unto her place,

But all came every night with the mist;
And often they brought so much to say
Of things of moment to which, they wist,
One so lonely was fain to list,
That the stars were almost faded away

Before the last went, heavy with dew,
Back to the place from which she came—
Where the bird was before it flew,
Where the flower was before it grew,
Where bird and flower were one and the same.

And thus it is I know so well
Why the flower has odor, the bird has song.
You have only to ask me, and I can tell.
No, not vainly there did I dwell,
Nor vainly listen all the night long.

>>Thank you<<
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Hello Alberto

What do you understand about the poem so far?

MrP
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Well, it seems that on the surface it looks like the speaker is admiring the scenery he sees out his window at night. with the "maidens pale" being the moon and shining light into his room; but on a deeper level (this is just a wild guess) he's partly dreaming(or drunk), and everything seems alive(personified) and talking to him. Since he's so lonely "One so lonley was fain to list"(by the way - does this list mean listen?) and the then stars begin to fade away and it's morning and he wakes up from this tranced state and ...... that's sorta all I get, I dont' get the last 2 stanza of the peom and why "That stars were almost faded away" is in stanza 3.
Seems to me that Frost is, in this poem, a lonely child watching the marsh come alive each night for his entertainment. He grants the blooms and birds the ability to wish for an audience when he says "Of things of moment to which, they wist, One so lonely was fain to list". As if the blooms and birds were waiting for someone to listen, and here he is finally, the audience they've been waiting for. Frost knows why the odor of bloom and song of bird exist here in this empty marsh... for his lonely ears to listen. And without them he would sit each night in vain. But their song, their need for audience gives odor and song purpose and in turn gives Frost purpose in his lonely childhood up in the mountians, away from friend or activity.

At least, that's the way I understood it!
Poets tend to be strange. A regular person living next to a swamp would hear frogs croaking and the night birds singing, and see the mist drifting out of the swamp, and that's all he'd perceive. A poet of the caliber of Frost however would perceive much more than this. The mists become maidens, the night sounds their voices. And what voices they are. They tell him things, things that no one else would ever know: why a flower is sweet, why birds sing, what the nature of birds and flowers is, etc. Interestingly, mental illness was reportedly rife in Frost's family, and an unenlightened person might simply write this all off to lunacy.
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I believe the poet may have personified the bird as his father, being specifically a hummingbird and his mother a flower, one to be pollinated. The pollination would then lead to his creation. Moreover, I identified the end of the poem may have been him hearing his parents going at it tarzan-style.

This is Frost's keen observation of a wetland's natural inhabitants as a young boy. The boisterous life therein and the cycle of life and death in general, aptly described from his close but adjacent point of view. The third stanza shows how eager he was to listen and how captivated he was that all else, the stars, almost faded away The second to last stanza I believe is clearly a reference to death, the place where all living things were before and are after - together "one and the same"; in or of the earth.