When it comes to Robert Frost, I’ve been reading a few poems by him since junior high. Usually I love his pieces like “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” but I didn’t like “Silken Tent”. After reading it, I felt that he was speaking about a woman who had two sides.
“She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when the sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To every thing on earth the compass round,”
It seems that during sunny summer breeze, a pleasant time also used to describe women, there is some freedom. It is as if during good times, the women is relaxed and pleasant. The cedar pole is the support system of the tent, which for a woman can be many things. The cedar pole can be a husband or family since this poem was written in the 1800s, a time when a woman’s main job was tending to her husband and family. The line ‘and signifies the sureness of the soul’ also supports my theory of the family being the cedar pole. Then he speaks of the loose bondage due to her love and thought which is can be thought of as the caring nurturing side of women.
And only by one’s going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightest bondage made aware.
After understanding what ‘taut‘ and ‘capriciousness‘ mean, I understood the end of the poem better. Taut is synonymous with tense or rigid while capricious is synonymous with temperamental. With the definition in mind, I felt the end of the poem was Frost telling us how she is reminded of the bondage that wasn’t making itself too apparent in the beginning of the poem. He is saying when she gets tense during unpredictable times, her bondage makes itself apparent.
Though I’m satisfied with what I understood with this poem, I didn’t like it too much. I did like that I had to look up words to understand it fully because it makes me feel less lazy. When I read it the first time in class, I didn’t know what to think of it. I had to sit down and look up words, think back to that time and build a case off my first thought.