Summary of A Time To Talk

The poem “A Time To Talk” is a short ten-line poem written by Robert Frost. The poem is more specifically, a snapshot of the lightning-quick moment of decision taken by a field worker. It is more broadly about choosing to stop the seeming perpetual actions of work when approached by a friend who is interested in conversation. The subject of the poem is on the field when he is approached by a friend on a horseback, “slows his horse to a meaning walk”; the worker is confronted with a choice to dismiss his friendly overture or not. He, the worker, decides that it is of more lasting value to him to stop working to talk to this friend than to keep working doggedly and finish hoeing for the day. “I don’t stand still to look around at all the hills I haven’t hoed”

Theme/ Moral of The Poem

The poem “A Time To Talk” by Robert Frost is about the value of friendship and priorities. Even while working, take the time to chat with your friend, the work will still be there when you come back. Friends and family are what is very important in life. In the poem, the speaker is talking about how if a friend comes to talk to him while he is busy doing something, he will put down what he is doing and talk to him. It is imperative for people to realize that when they ignore their friends in order to finish the work they are doing, the work may seem unavoidable to them right now, but in a few days or months, they will have forgotten about it. However, if they keep ignoring their friends, they may lose those friendships forever. And by that time, it will be too late. That is why I think it is so critical for people to understand the moral of this poem and to also apply it to their lives because it would be really unfortunate to lose a friendship over such trivial matters. Maintaining friendships holds a lot of importance.

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Figures of Speech of A Time To Talk

One of the poetic devices used in this short poem is alliteration. Alliteration has been used to enhance the sound and flow of its lines. One such example is in the fourth line with the words “hills” “haven’t” and “hoed.” Speaking these words requires effort just as the speaker is working over his fields. Alliteration is also used in line three with the words “stand” and “still,” as well as in line six with “time to talk”.


Stanza 1 Line 3: I don’t stand still and look around

This line contains a visual image. It can be known by the word “look around” The poet is also using kinesthetic imagery for when we “looked around,” we naturally make a movement on our neck.

Stanza 1 Line 8: Blade-end up and five feet tall

This line also uses visual images. It is clearly shown because it describes something that can be seen in our eyes, that is, “blade end up” and “five feet tall.”

Stanza 1 Line 1: When a friend calls me from the road

This line represents an auditory imagery. Readers can imagine when someone is calling a poet, so they can hear it through their ears.

Stanza 1 Line 2: And slows his horse to a meaning walk

In this line, the poet uses kinesthetic imagery. The word “slows” indicates a movement so that readers can imagine the poet just slowing down his horse so that he can talk to his friend while riding a horse.

Stanza 1 Line 9: I plod; I go up to the stone wall

This line contains both kinesthetic and visual imagery. The word “I plod” indicates that the poet is trying to take slow steps as if his feet were heavy. And then, the word “I’m going up” also shows that the poet is trying to climb the “stone wall” that uses visual imagery because the wall is made of stone so that the readers can see the materials. In this line, the “stone wall” can be defined as a wall made of stone or just a symbol of life’s hard temptation.

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From “A Time to Talk” poem, we can see some denotations. They are:

FRIEND: a person who you know well and who you like a lot, but who is usually not a member of your family
ROAD: a long hard surface built for vehicles to travel along
HORSE: a large animal with four legs which people ride on or use for carrying things or pulling vehicles


From “A Time to Talk” poem, we can see some connotations. They are:

STONE WALL: the hindrance between two friends who want to talk to each other. Because of the hindrance, they couldn’t share their experiences with each other.

HILLS: a petition or job who is had by someone. And they have to finish the petition or the job soon.

HOE: a worried feeling which is had by someone because he has to finish his job soon, but finally he chooses to visit his friend.

MELLOW GROUND: the field where the writer works. And in that field, there are so many jobs that he has to finish soon.

Questions and Answers

Q. What type of poem is “A Time to Talk”?

Ans. Robert Frost’s A Time to Talk ‘is a ten-line poem which is contained within one block of text. Frost chose to imbue this piece with a particular rhyme scheme following the abcadbceed pattern. The pattern is loose, scattered across the ten lines with the matching rhymes.

Q. What is the mood and the tone of the poem “A Time to Talk”?

The mood and tone of the poem are gentle, contemplative, and slow, as we can find it from the use of language like “plod,” “slows,” “time,” and “mellow.” The poem seems to suggest that we should take time to engage with our friends rather than believe that work is the be-all and end-all of life. In taking such attitude, Frost seems to give an alternative to life driven by blind ambition at the cost of friendship and mellow moments.

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