I know a few of Robert Frost's poems, though I'm not an expert, and I've noticed that they all have long and elaborate rhyme schemes. Is this true for all of his poems? Has he ever written a poem that didn't rhyme consistently (have a rhyme scheme)?


1 Answer 1


Yes, there are quite a few, including

That said, most of these do have a continuous meter. Blank verse has such a meter, while free verse does not. Frost once said

I'd as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down.

A review by William O'Donnell says that Frost is "unequalled" by any British or American poets in the 19th century in his use of blank verse. In the early 20th century, such a structure was rejected by Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot, although Frost continued writing the same way.

Iambic pentameter, of course, permeates Frost's work. However, it is an odd, even informal variant. A contemporary analysis of Frost notes that "The Runaway", while using the meter, is irregular even in the first few lines:

Once when the snow of the year was beginning to fall,
We stopped by a mountain pasture to say, “Whose colt?”

The first line feels slightly smoother; the first, fourth, seventh, tenth and thirteenth syllables are all stressed. However, the second does not flow quite so well.

  • You can parse The Runaway so that it has five (irregular) feet per line. The second line just ends with a spondee, and I think it flows perfectly fine. And, despite the contemporary analysis's opinion, I would not call the meter even remotely iambic.
    – Peter Shor
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 16:25
  • Mending Wall is indeed in loose iambic pentameter, showing that Frost could write iambic pentameter when he was trying to. Compare it with The Runaway.
    – Peter Shor
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 16:36
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    There's something odd about the quoted sentence “I'd sooner […] as […]”; in fact to my ear it sounds ungrammatical. Are you sure it's not something like “I'd just as soon […] as […]” or “I'd no sooner […] than […]” or something like that? Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 18:07
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    @ShreevatsaR: Robert Frost seems to have said this in The Atlantic Magazine in 1951, and his exact words were "For my pleasure I had as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down," which is quite a bit more grammatical than the quoted version.
    – Peter Shor
    Commented May 31 at 16:17
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    Let me make an addendum to my previous comment. Despite my saying that The Runaway is not in iambic meter (I’d still classify it so), Frost classified it as “loose iambic pentameter,” and classified his poems like Mending Wall as “strict iambic pentameter.”
    – Peter Shor
    Commented Jun 1 at 12:09

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