Robert Frost's "A Prayer in Spring"
Introduction and Text of Poem, "A Prayer in Spring"
The little poem, "A Prayer in Spring," is spoken in four stanzas, each composed of two rimed couplets. As the speaker prays to the Divine Beloved, he is also inviting his audience to become as delighted in "the springing of the year” as they do in the later harvest which happens in autumn—two seasons away from spring.
(Please note: The incorrect spelling, "rhyme," was erroneously introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson. For my explanation for using only the correct form, please see "Rime vs Rhyme: An Unfortunate Error.")
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.
Reading of "A Prayer in Spring"
First Stanza: "Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day"
The speaker is addressing the All- Mighty Lord, requesting that the speaker and his fellow neighbors be afforded the foresight and the ability to appreciate the current season's qualities.
The speaker requests that they all might be able to take "pleasure in the flowers to-day." Additionally, he suggests that they refrain from putting their thoughts only on the coming "uncertain harvest."
As the farmers begin their spring planting and cultivation, they would naturally be looking forward to the ripe results with its benefits of food and money. The speaker, however, is urging them to contemplate with enjoyment the season dedicated to planting and tending.
After all, it is the season of new birth, a time when they begin their valuable work, and then continue that work of cultivation that later will result in the fine, necessary, and, hopefully, abundant harvest.
By calling the harvest "uncertain," the speaker lays his emphasis on the very much needed ability to live in the moment, instead of constantly looking to the future for enjoyment.
Constantly looking ahead to future possibilities, the human being loses the beauty of the current activities, and then there is the possibility of being disappointed in the future if the harvest does not result in all that quality produce.
Second Stanza: "Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white"
The speaker then dramatizes the qualities of spring that usually supply enjoyment as they happen: "the orchard white" refers to the budding flowers that will later provide the ripe fruit they will gather in fall.
However, the speaker wishes that his audience of fellow farmer will appreciate the beauty of those blooms now so they may take pleasure in them, even during the night time when they appear like "ghosts."
The speaker also requests from the Lord that the speaker and his fellow farmers be able to experience happiness with "the happy bees" that perform the important task of buzzing the blooms of the orchards, spreading the pollen that fosters the continued grow of fruit.
The speaker seeks from the Creator that the Divine may endow his fellows with these appreciative attitudes with powers of observation, which likely he seldom experiences seeing in them.
Third Stanza: "And make us happy in the darting bird"
The speaker prays for them all to be "happy in the darting bird": a humming bird that seems to move like a "meteor" as it "thrusts in with needle bill, / And off a blossom in mid air stands still."
Because he speaker has felt such delight in observing those sights, he now he is seeking assistance from the Lord to encourage his compatriots of relatives, neighbors, and friends to have to ability to discern joy and experience pleasure that those natural spring time delights offer.
Fourth Stanza: "For this is love and nothing else is love"
Finally, the speaker puts forth his reason for requesting of the Divine that He tap the minds and even the hearts of his fellows: this speaker firmly believes that "this is love and nothing else is love."
The speaker feels strongly that there are many aspects of life that are not understood well by the human heart and mind, which means they simply have to be left only to God. However, the simple pleasures of spring are completely understandable and free for everyone to experience.
Those pleasures of each season cost nothing and are given freely to everyone. They offer much enjoyment to each human observer, and this speaker wants to urge his fellows to feel the same joy and love he has experienced as he has observed those seasonal qualities.
© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes