In “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” my first impression of the poem at the beginning is that it’s meant to evoke humor. The imagery from the first few verses is comical because of the strangers jumping out of the woods and scaring the writer. It reminds me of something that my family and I would do to each other since we like pulling pranks on one another. He continues to explain that he’s good at splitting wood and always had a “splinterless” piece once he was done. The fact that he pays so much attention to detail and is careful in his wood splitting, is a sign that he enjoys what he’s doing. That day was different though, because he spent his time chopping the “unimportant wood.” The poem continues and he reminisces about the different seasons and the changes that come with those seasons, that he’s experienced while doing what he loves.
As the poem continues, the understanding of some sort of conflict becomes apparent. The conflict appears to be over a job, a lumberjack position. The main character is passionate about his work and is unwilling to give it up. Although they (tramps) kept their distance, he knew that he was chopping wood out of love for the activity. He also understood that the “tramps” wanted the job because they had something to gain from it. He also admits that their need may be greater than his love for being a lumberjack. It’s almost a competition between them and their intentions.
The end of the poem reminds me of American politics. Some people (our President for example), go into politics for fame, power, and perhaps even money. Others (such as Senator McCain) go into politics because they have a desire to make a change. They believe that they need to serve a greater purpose and they believe that they can make a positive impact. The lines that stand out to me the most are:
“Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done” (Frost, n.d.)
The main character does his wood chopping out of love and the tramps do it out of need but until they’re both on the same level, there will be conflict. I relate this to politics because as could be clearly seen, there is currently a lot of infighting because many people don’t get into politics for the love and need, it’s usually one or the other which is why they refuse to cross party lines and work together.
The poem speaks to my future and my time here in D.C. on a couple of different levels. During my time in D.C. we are almost immediately immersed into politics because political news is everywhere and can impact our organizations. Because of the politics of Washington, D.C. there is also some form of competition for those working here and those (interns) who have a desire to take their place or their job. The poem speaks to my future because I feel that I’m in a competition with myself. I want a good paying job, but more importantly I want a career that I’m passionate about and where I know that I’m making a difference. I also know that I’m capable of great success, but I must keep pushing forward just like the author of the poem.
Frost, R. “Two Tramps in Mud Time.” Retrieved from https://myasucourses.asu.edu/webapps/blackboard/execute/content/file?cmd=view&content_id=_15716836_1&course_id=_355667_1&framesetWrapped=true