“Into My Own” by Robert Frost

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e’er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew–
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

(1915, A Boy’s Will)


There is irony in the dilemma of the adolescent; he is at the cusp of total independence yet is caught by the salient need for family as a foundation to stand upon. Frost exploits this ordeal in “Into My Own,” as he uses an adolescent speaker to convey the struggle of overcoming childhood and reaching adulthood. These conflicting states create a vacuum of identity, compelling the speaker to seek to come “into [his] own,” and thus develop self-recognition. This vacuum is emphasized by Frost’s use of outmoded language such as “’twere” and “e’er,” as it shows a young poet still in the shadow of British poetry and not yet confident in the American idiom. He has not yet come “into [his] own” voice.

Frost’s poem is in the format of a sonnet. This structurally demonstrates the speaker’s wish to retain his core self while cementing his beliefs, as the sonnet is a classic poetic form that retains its organization while altering its significance with whatever language is employed. Just as this alteration would not break from sonnet format, the speaker’s foray into independence would not incite an utter break from his previous self; instead, it would allow him to become a magnified version of who he had been, as evidenced in the final couplet of the poem, “They would not find me changed from him they knew–/Only more sure of all I thought was true.” The speaker would be able to transcend to adulthood as a man who has cemented his ideals and completely knows himself.

Robert Frost was a four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet. He frequently utilized rural scenery as a significant element in his poetry, demonstrating how soulful interaction with the natural world can breed intellectual depth.