In Other Words: Nature’s First Green


Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

—-Robert Frost

* Frost knew all about Nature’s ineluctable progress — but he also knew about human nature, and how it would feel about that. Here is the close of his poem, Reluctance:

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,

And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

This entry was posted in Autumn, Color, Death, Etcetera, Nature, Poetry, Quotes, Spring and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to In Other Words: Nature’s First Green

  1. 2e0mca says:

    That’s a well chosen poem to go with the autumn leaves 🙂


  2. Pauline says:

    I always attributed that poem to springtime as nature’s first green is that pale, gorgeous greeny-gold color that too soon turns to emerald. I see it works for autumn, too – all that gold makes even a rainy day look bright.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Yes, I agree, it is a springtime poem, but its ultimate ending for me is in the fall. Now.
      I feel just as you do, Pauline — an obscure sadness or wistfulness in the spring, when the tenderest palest green appears, knowing how quickly the more robust greens of summer will displace it. And — perhaps because I am old now? — I know how quickly the autumn will come and go and we will be in winter again, I see it all in that first greeny-gold…


  3. Meg says:

    I recall driving along the NY Thruway, just south of Harriman, on an early almost pre-spring day, when the hillsides showed the first blush of greens and golds and pinks and pale violets. My daughter, then about 10 said “Mom, do you see how spring is just like fall, only with pastel colors.’


  4. xties says:

    Yourself a lover of GMH, you’re likely to appreciate why this post about nature’s first green brought to my mind his poignant Spring and Fall : to a young child

    You’re all in Fall now, whilst we, on the other side of the world, are in Spring … and our native spring-flowering kowhai is opening its gorgeous golden flowers.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Actually I never before made a link between the Frost poem and that of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ (for those less intimately acquainted with the poet), with its unforgettable first line, “Margaret, are you grieving….”
      It is one of the most intolerably sad poems I know, and one of the truest. Thank you for making the association for me.

      As for the kowhai tree — happy Spring! It is a gorgeous yellow indeed, and reminds me a little of another spring yellow flowering tree, the palo verde, in Arizona, also specific to a climate, although hardly a maritime climate! Rather, to a desert climate. The beautiful flowers last only a scant few weeks before they are gone to green —- and they too seem to have pods, like your kowhai.
      (Although so far as I know, the palo verde isn’t poisonous, whereas all parts of the kowhai are, according to wikipedia. As an addicted reader of mystery novels, I am happy to add it to oleander as a possible murder weapon —–)


  5. Caroline says:

    Beautiful poems with lovely photos. I like how golden the leaves appear. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Patti Kuche says:

    I adore the feeling of renewal which comes with autumn, a restoration of peace after the heat and busyness of summer. The bliss of preparing for hibernation in order to start all over again.

    Though lovers be lost love shall not
    And death shall have no dominion.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      What an extraordinary poem! I had to look it up, as my only connection with Dylan Thomas is A Child’s Christmas in Wales, which we read aloud (with happenstance visitors) every Christmas time. The juxtaposition with the photos and the Frost poems is perfect.
      A dear friend today lost her beloved friend who was 103 years old, and still young withal, and she is inconsolable; these two lines serendipitously arrive from you to be an offering I shall make to her.
      So multiple thanks, Patti.


  7. Smallpeace says:

    “To go with the drift of things.” I sure needed that today. Thank you!


  8. suitablefish says:

    “To go with the flow of things”, “to bow and accept.” thank you for your lovely images and thought-provoking posts.


  9. Jen says:

    Your words are poetry to my ears…literally. Thank you for the chance to visit with Frost, and pick up some other poetry suggestions as well!


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