Fire and Ice remains one of my all-time favorite poems, penned by Robert Frost (1874-1963), who happens to be my favorite poet. It is a short poem, consisting only of a few lines, and yet packed with so much meaning and firepower that adding another paragraph or couple of lines would have ruined its searing effect or trivialized its impact.
FIRE and ICE
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Fire and Ice has a certain cadence that begins to hit you only after you have read the poem a few times. Then, with each reading you begin to realize that there is a much stronger sublayer of jumbled emotions in there, rife with uncomfortable truths sandwiched within those seemingly innocuous words.
It took me a long time to realize what the lines really meant, and when the message slowly became clear (in keeping with my sluggish mental processes), I was amazed at the vivid range of emotions Robert Frost managed to stir and conjure with those few lines, especially as I grew older and experienced first-hand what these words really meant.
The other art form I know that can induce this type of reaction with even fewer words is a haiku, which continues to baffle and elude me to this day.
My other favorite (also by Robert Frost) is Stopping By Woods on a Snow Evening.