The Past

Have you ever read Directive by Robert Frost? I read it a long time ago and I read it again today. I found it hard to understand, but when I re-read it a few times I thought it was so simple and beautiful.


It seems, at first, he is romanticizing the past. I was a little taken aback by that because I hear so many people reminisce about the "simpler" times and how everything was better. I think nostalgia is generally illogical.

But the key (and my favorite part) of this poem is right at the beginning.
Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss,
of detail
He acknowledges the ridiculousness of claiming the past is always better. The past is only made simple by the loss of detail. How true is that?


I did a search for the analysis of the poem and it came up with this post. I thought this described the poem beautifully.
Don't we, at times, resent those that we love? And don’t we, for our own human reasons, cherish, and even cling to, painful memories? Why? Intellectually, it doesn’t make sense, and it’s into these impossibilities that Robert Frost descends.
Of course, I catch myself romanticizing the past all the time. It's emotions playing tricks on my mind, really. The human mind full of contradictions; remembering the past as a better time is just one of them.


  1. This is an really interesting topic. I think I started to realize how much I actually romanticized the past when I started meditation. Then it also appeared to me that it's actually within my control to romanticize the present too, although now when it has been weeks since I meditated last time, I forgot how I did it.


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