University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
The Silken Tent
The Silken Tent: Robert Frost – Summary and Critical Analysis In the poem The Silken Tent the poet is comparing the tent with the woman whom the poet loved. The summer breeze stirs the tent and has dried the dew. When the dew has dried, the tent becomes tight. And all its ropes also have become loose and the ropes move easily and gently. Similarly, when the woman is free from her domestic duties, she freely goes here and there. The cedar pole in the centre has erected the tent and the pole is the symbol of the sureness of the soul. Like the supporting pole of the tent, her soul is reliable. As the tent is tied with many ropes, she is also bound with ties of love and thought. As summer air makes the tent feel that it is bound, so her marriage also reminds her that she is bound to someone. In the poem bondage means the condition of being under some power or influence. It refers to her marriage vows and her husband. Both of them are bound by religious and social and legal obligations.
The Silken Tent is a love poem Frost wrote for Morrison is vividly sensual and suggests how she balanced her love obligations. A seamless one-sentence sonnet the poem embodies Morrison “as in a field a silken tent” which is stirred by summer breeze and sways, bound not by a “single cord” but “loosely bound and by countless silken ties of love and thought. Though the poem may simply signify Morrison’s generally rich engagement with the world, it may also represent her involvement in numerous love affairs; the “capriciousness of summer air”, her cheerful promiscuity, the “slightest bondage” her apparently unconfined marriage. The poet conveys the sense of woman’s character that she is involved in numerous love affairs. She is capricious like the summer air. She is cheerfully promiscuous. She is apparently unconfined to her marriage. She is unobtrusively strong and sure of what she does. Her love and thoughtfulness for others and her own happiness shines clearly. The Silken Tent is an immense metaphor, comparing woman and tent in a multitude of ways. Relating this sonnet we can quote Frost’s remark, “I prefer the synecdoche in poetry, that figure of speech in which we use a part for a whole.”