“Two Tramps in Mud Time” is a poem by Robert Frost. The poem takes the reader through the journey of a lumberjack who speaks about different pressures of the job. There can be many interpretations of this poem but after my time in Washington, D.C. I have developed my own unique understanding of the poem.
The poem begins by setting the scene. The narrator is in the forest chopping wood when a person comes and watches him work. Frost, as the lumberjack, says, “I knew pretty well what he had in mind: He wanted to take my job for pay.” I interpret this line as someone always wanting to be where you are. My time in D.C. has given me many great experiences, but I sometimes feel the ugly, green giant of envy come upon me. I see my peers do something that I did not have an opportunity to do or get to stay in D.C. a bit longer than myself and I get a little bit jealous. But, I keep in mind that I am also doing fulfilling and interesting things in my internship and my time in D.C. I have to remember that there may be someone looking at my experience and wishing they were in my shoes. I am lucky and grateful to have lived in D.C. for the past two months.
The next part of the poem that stood out to me was, “That day, giving a loose my soul, I spent on the unimportant wood.” This line means that the lumberjack gave the freedom of their soul. Though their work can be considered unimportant, they still allow themselves to lose themselves in their work. During my time in D.C., I made it a top priority to put my all into my work. This is something that I believe will be a benefit when I continue on in the work force.
The next few stanzas talk about the shift of seasons. “When the sun is out and the wind is still, you’re one month is the middle of May. But if you so much as dare to speak, a cloud comes over the sunlit arch, a wind comes off a frozen peak, and you’re two month back in the middle of March.” Though the poem seemingly speaks about going back in time, I interpreted this as how fast time and seasons change. These last two months have flown by. I cannot believe I leave in just a few days time and soon I will back at ASU as a senior. It feels like time has passed so quickly; not only my time in D.C., but my time in college. It teaches me to absorb and take in every moment I possibly can.
The poem then changes to how the woodcutter enjoys his task but feels self-conscious because of other lumberjacks. “They thought all chopping was their right. Men of the woods and lumberjacks, they judged me by their appropriate tool…And all their logic would fill my head: as that I had no right to play.” This part of the poem hit me hard. It is so easy to compare yourself to others and not feel as confident. But, everyone’s “tools” are different and benefit the goal in a different way. In D.C., I worked with three other interns and we all had something unique to bring to the table. This made it possible for us to work successfully together. Our unique tools were able to raise each other up and benefit the team as a whole.
The final, and arguably most important, part of the poem is the last stanza which states, “ But yield who will to their separation, my object in living is to unite. My avocation and my vocation as my two eyes make one in sight. Only where love and need are one, and the work is play for mortal stakes, is the deed ever really done for Heaven and the future’s sake.” I take this as finding a career that you love, not only one that provides for your monetary needs. You have to find your passion, even if it is cutting wood, to achieve joy. You will want to go to your job and work harder than the workers that are there for need because you love your job. I think the overall message of the poem is this, find something you love, even if you do not have the right tools at first, because your passion will allow you to work harder, gain necessary skills, and enjoy your work.
I am sad that my time in D.C. is coming to an end, but I am looking forward to my next journey. I made a promise to the Uber driver the other night that I would be back, and that is a promise I completely intend to keep. I will back soon. For now, farewell D.C. Thank you for the memories.