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The Silken Tent

Robert Frost

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The simile in the first line
Added by: Bill Taylor
If you're going to plagiarize the poem, watch the wording in the first line. It's not "a field of silken tent". Rather, "She is ... a silken tent".
Added by: Jough (Editor)
Thank you for noticing the typo. It's been fixed.

We try to catch them all, but that's proving to be more difficult as we receive more submissions every day.
translation in italian
Added by: Claudia Malvenuto
Lei e’ una tenda di seta in un prato/
a mezzogiorno quando la brezza estiva e il sole/
hanno asciugato la rugiada e le corde si allentano,/
cosi’ sui suoi tiranti leggermente oscilla sciolta,/
e il palo centrale di supporto in cedro,/
che e’ il pinnacolo che punta verso il cielo/
e il segno della sua anima sicura,/
sembra non dover niente a un solo filo,/
che’ neanche uno la stringe, ma dolcemente legata/
da mille lacci in seta di amore e pensiero/
a tutto cio’ che in terra fa tondo il compasso,/
non appena uno se ne tende/
per i capricci dell’aria estiva /
lei sente in se’ quelle lievi catene./
the silken tent
Added by: dangerous
. I see this line as Frost’s main set up for his main metaphor “She is” meaning the girl that he will be talking about, “as in a field” setting up the point for us to imagine a girl, woman whatever so far alone in a field. Let me not forget to mention that I may break this poem down in a choppy sort of manner but it is because the poem itself is in actuality one sentence. “a silken tent at midday” so he is referring her to that of a tent. At this point in reading I am seeing her tied down mentally to something rather than physically as a tent is tied down.
Added by: Kara
In the first line, Frost puts into our minds a woman who stands alone ("in a field") in some place in his thought (maybe the place reserved for mothers, wives, true loves?) who he regards as beautiful and with an unapparent strength (think about the properties of silk).

The next 6 lines drive toward the seemingly unwavering moral purity of the woman. The next four lines say that this is completely a natural (or supernatural) phenomenon, that she is this way only because of her love. But Frost invokes silk again ("silken ties") which is deceptively strong but so soft you'd almost never notice. Which is, of course, the point he comes to in the last line. There's the typical dark Frostness. This is a very beautiful poem but scary.
The SIlken Tent
Added by: Richard Handelsman
The form of this poem is its theme.The theme is that hidden constraints are actually supports: people operate and exist within rules. The form reiterates this theme - hidden restrictions actually define - on four levels: the physical (the tent is held by guys); the social (the woman is formed by her relationships); the grammatical (the poem, one sentence long, must adhere to rules of punctuation, parallelism, etc.); and the generic, or formal (as a sonnet, the poem must be 14 lines of iambic pentameter). As with Wordsworth's "Nuns Fret Not", form is theme.
Italian Translation by Claudia Malvenuto
Added by: anonymous
Claudia...thank you for a beautiful italian translation...for me you capture the essence of Frosts words..She is his ideal of beauty, love and grace. She rises heavenward and is embraced and gently shaped by the ebb and flow of the breezes. She epitomizes gentle strength.
Added by: Scott Hill
I especially appreciate this poem's self-referring comment on writing poetry. I know some would place it earlier, but for me the volta is "...only by one's going slightly taut / In the capriciousness of summer air / Is of the slightest bondage made aware," (ll. 12 - 14). To maintain a healthy relationship, lovers must neither push nor pull too hard. As a poet, one's style, one's metaphors, etc. must attain a similar balance and - like a well-placed volta that just slightly changes the traditional Shakespearian sonnet - craft writing that stands perfectly between absolute order and absolute chaos. In this sense, "The Silken Tent" is much like his "Fire and Ice" - and other poems - which also invoke the balance between entropy and anarchy.
The Silken Tent
Added by: David H.
Absolutely one of my Frost favorites. I must agree with Scott Hill's comment, which harkens to Jay Pirini's analysis in his tremendous biography of the poet. This poem -- a lyrical and powerful single sentence -- captures the very best of Frost through its use of beautifully simple language and imagery ultimately to describe the art of poerty itself. Lord, what a great sonnet.
Added by: Brett Heneghan
I agree with Scott Hill also, but not with the statement "the balance between entropy and anarchy." I'm not sure what he was trying to say with this, but entropy and anarchy go hand and hand. Entropy is a state of disorder, as is anarchy. I believe that the poem is more contrasting than that. The woman is serene and smooth, and she is bonded by society and the fact that she is a woman, her serenity is in conflict because the ties are breaking. She is not used to having freedom.

The true beauty of silk is in movement, the woman is most beautiful in freedom.

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