Soon after its initial publication in 1923 in The Yale Review, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” appeared in Robert Frost’s fifth collection, New Hampshire. This work earned Frost his first Pulitzer Prize the following year, in 1924. As suggested by its title, the poem’s central theme relates to the ephemeral nature of beauty. The speaker begins the poem with a consideration of how spring brings the arrival of new buds, and how those buds quickly pass away as they transform into flowers and leaves. Though speaking of naturally occurring processes that are cyclical, the speaker implies that they don’t experience change as a neutral phenomenon, but rather as a form of loss. The speaker grows increasingly pessimistic in the poem’s second half, where they reference the biblical story of humanity’s permanent exile from the Garden of Eden. The speaker’s allusion to this biblical story demonstrates a pessimistic worldview that may relate to their age. Although we don’t know much about the speaker, it’s possible that they could be experiencing something like a midlife crisis. Frost himself was 48 when he wrote this poem, a point during middle age when people could experience a crisis about their own mortality and the relative brevity of human life.