"Birches" by Robert Frost

The speaker of this poem recalls his childhood pastime of climbing and swinging from birch trees. Read the poem here.

Here are our lists for other poems by Robert Frost: "The Death of the Hired Man", "After Apple-Picking", "Mending Wall", "Out, Out—"
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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. craze
    develop a fine network of cracks
    Often you must have seen them
    Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
    After a rain. They click upon themselves
    As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
    As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
  2. enamel
    any smooth glossy coating that resembles ceramic glaze
    Often you must have seen them
    Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
    After a rain. They click upon themselves
    As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
    As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
  3. shed
    cast off hair, skin, feathers, etc.
    Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
    Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
    Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
    You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
  4. avalanche
    gather into a huge mass and roll down a mountain, of snow
    Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
    Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
    Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
    You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
  5. dome
    a concave shape whose concavity faces downward
    Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
    Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
    Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
    You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
  6. withered
    having lost all moisture
    They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
    And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
    So low for long, they never right themselves
  7. bracken
    large coarse fern often several feet high
    They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
    And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
    So low for long, they never right themselves
  8. arch
    form a curve
    You may see their trunks arching in the woods
    Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
    Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
    Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
  9. fetch
    go or come after and bring or take back
    I should prefer to have some boy bend them
    As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
  10. subdue
    put down by force or intimidation
    One by one he subdued his father's trees
    By riding them down over and over again
    Until he took the stiffness out of them,
    And not one but hung limp, not one was left
    For him to conquer.
  11. limp
    lacking in strength, firmness, or resilience
    One by one he subdued his father's trees
    By riding them down over and over again
    Until he took the stiffness out of them,
    And not one but hung limp, not one was left
    For him to conquer.
  12. conquer
    overcome by subjugation
    One by one he subdued his father's trees
    By riding them down over and over again
    Until he took the stiffness out of them,
    And not one but hung limp, not one was left
    For him to conquer.
  13. launch
    propel with force
    He learned all there was
    To learn about not launching out too soon
    And so not carrying the tree away
    Clear to the ground.
  14. poise
    great coolness and composure under strain
    He always kept his poise
    To the top branches, climbing carefully
    With the same pains you use to fill a cup
    Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
  15. brim
    the top edge of a vessel or other container
    He always kept his poise
    To the top branches, climbing carefully
    With the same pains you use to fill a cup
    Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
  16. fling
    move in an abrupt or headlong manner
    Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
    Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
  17. swish
    a brushing or rustling sound
    Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
    Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
  18. weary
    physically and mentally fatigued
    It's when I'm weary of considerations,
    And life is too much like a pathless wood
    Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
    Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
    From a twig's having lashed across it open.
  19. consideration
    information to be kept in mind when making a decision
    It's when I'm weary of considerations,
    And life is too much like a pathless wood
    Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
    Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
    From a twig's having lashed across it open.
  20. lash
    strike as if by whipping
    It's when I'm weary of considerations,
    And life is too much like a pathless wood
    Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
    Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
    From a twig's having lashed across it open.
  21. fate
    the ultimate agency predetermining the course of events
    May no fate willfully misunderstand me
    And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
    Not to return.
  22. willful
    done by design
    May no fate willfully misunderstand me
    And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
    Not to return.
Created on November 17, 2017 (updated April 3, 2018)

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