Spring Session 5: “A Girl’s Garden”

This women’s chorus selection from Randall Thompson’s Frostiana was composed in 1959 and based on the poem “A Girl’s Garden” by Robert Frost. 

In this piece, we hear the story of a young girl asking her father to give her a small piece of the farm so that she can start a garden. The music and text catches the innocence and excitement of having a piece of land to call her own. She learns, though, that cultivating the land is difficult and while her yields are less than satisfactory, she feels she can relate to the other farmers in the village (on a smaller scale).

Robert Frost is known to use life lessons in his poetry. The garden is a metaphor for life, the seeds being planted the girl’s hopes and dreams. What she eventually reaps is the fruition of those hopes and dreams. While she may not have gotten exactly what she wanted from the garden, she got many other things in small amounts and is content. 

Lastly, we learn through the way the poem is delivered that one’s experiences and the lessons learned from them never halt with the person. Experiences are shared from person to person, with each individual taking from another’s experience a unique lesson that applies their life. The narrator of the story is the girl’s neighbor, and this person is telling the story to us as the girl must have told it to the narrator and to many other people in the village. Thus, one girl’s gardening experience has the ability to teach many, or, at the very least, to appeal to the shared experience of being human.