Analysis of “Nothing gold can stay”

The title of the poem is metaphorical and gold represents value and wealth so when it says nothing gold can stay it means that nothing that is precious or of great value in the materialistic way can stay forever. As gold symbolises materialism it wont last for long and it will give us “fake happiness” and another thing is that gold and other things which are money based can take years to accumulate but can be washed away in a millisecond.  On the other hand, things having emotion and sentimental values cannot be bought with money and therefore will remain with us throughout our life.

 The poet personifies nature with a commonly used term as ‘mother nature’ and I think the hidden meaning behind this is that the poem he has written carries the same message that has been preached for years, yet no one bothers to follow or listen to it.

 The poet says “nature’s first green is gold” he compares the colour of nature ‘green’ with something that can be bought i.e. gold. Maybe he is trying to say that nature’s first baby is green that is just as valuable as gold but the he says “her hardest hue to hold” which might mean that green was her hardest hue to hold as it was the most valuable just like gold and it would be taken away from her.

 “…a flower” flower symbolises purity, beauty and nature just like a new born baby, and when the poet says “her early leaf’s…” it proves that he is talking about something just born or created. However, he then says, “but only so an hour.” which makes evident that the beauty and innocence will only stay for an hour and then fade away. “Eden sank to grief”, the Garden of Eden has always been symbolic of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit, so the poet probably wants to say that nature’s first flower, i.e. Adam and Eve were innocent and pure but after a certain time, they too were tempted by the fruit and they had to come down to earth and that’s why Eden was angst. “…dawn goes down to day” just like dawn has to finally depart and the day has to end even gold has to take its leave.

 The poem is written in a couplets e.g. “…gold…hold…” etc, and this might indicate that every happiness comes with sorrow or vice-versa. So when nature receives its first gold, she has already accepted that she can’t hold on to it and she says that it will last “…so an hour…”

 The poet has used lots of figurative and pastoral language to create vivid imagery, “nature’s first green is gold”, here imagery and alliteration are both used to create a very vibrant opening line that will appeal to the reader. The poet also uses alliteration throughout the poem mostly “S’s” to give a soft and harmonious tone to the poem.  The poet uses strong and deep language to express the sadness felt by nature by using words like “grief” and “subsides” instead of not strongly emotive words like unhappiness etc.

 All in all I think the poet has successfully conveyed a very meaningful and significant massage through the excellent use of vibrant and lush imagery.

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26 thoughts on “Analysis of “Nothing gold can stay”

    • Elixir of memories says:

      I’m glad I could help :) Wishing you good luck for the results and let me know if you need anything else :D

  1. Normally I do not read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do it!
    Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, very nice article.

  2. Arturo Diaz says:

    Great analysis of “Nothing gold can stay,” but I do not see the use of the word “gold” as referring to material gold. I perceive it more like referring to non-material thinks that are valuable. For example, our innocence that is gone so fast and how fast time goes by; those things are valuable like gold.

  3. Renea says:

    I’ve never associated this poem with “material things”. To me it represents people, feelings, and changes as nothing or anyone stays the same, ie: nothing gold can stay.

    • That’s a good observation, and yes it could also possibly be the meaning behind the poem. Could you explain a little more in detail about your views? It’s always good to look at something from someone else’s perspective and I’m glad you voiced your opinion :)

  4. Mikayla says:

    Impressive analysis ! I was given a paper to fill out about this poem and this has given me insight ,thank you! My teacher would be most pleased (:

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