The following poem is one of many that puts to paid the once-common notion that Frost is simply a kindly (albeit slightly cranky) cracker-barrel Yankee philosopher. You know what I mean: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood" and all that. Of course, I make no claim to originality in observing that Frost has a "darker" side. This is, by now, a common notion as well. (Perhaps the emphasis has gone too far in that direction.)
Where had I heard this wind before
Change like this to a deeper roar?
What would it take my standing there for,
Holding open a restive door,
Looking down hill to a frothy shore?
Summer was past and day was past.
Somber clouds in the west were massed.
Out in the porch's sagging floor,
Leaves got up in a coil and hissed,
Blindly struck at my knee and missed.
Something sinister in the tone
Told me my secret must be known:
Word I was in the house alone
Somehow must have gotten abroad,
Word I was in my life alone,
Word I had no one left but God.
Robert Frost, West-Running Brook (1928).
Yes, there is "darkness" in Frost, but I wonder whether he isn't pulling our legs at the same time. At least a bit. That would be just like Frost.
But there is no gainsaying the fact that both Frost and Thomas were aware of what it means to be "in the house alone," to be "in my life alone," as the wind soughs. Not that they would complain about it, or ask us to feel sorry for them, mind you. But they both knew that it has to be faced up to.
And thus comes yet another turn from Frost back to Thomas. Again, we find ourselves in an empty house. As the wind soughs.
The New House
Now first, as I shut the door,
I was alone
In the new house; and the wind
Began to moan.
Old at once was the house,
And I was old;
My ears were teased with the dread
Of what was foretold,
Nights of storm, days of mist, without end;
Sad days when the sun
Shone in vain: old griefs, and griefs
Not yet begun.
All was foretold me; naught
Could I foresee;
But I learnt how the wind would sound
After these things should be.
Edna Longley (editor), Edward Thomas: The Annotated Collected Poems (Bloodaxe Books 2008).