What Is the Theme of “Nothing Gold Can Stay”?

The transitory nature of life is the theme of “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” In this poem, Robert Frost marries natural imagery to Biblical allusions to create a short, resonant statement about the impossibility of maintaining perfection.

“Nothing Gold Can Stay” opens with the famous couplet “Nature’s first green is gold, / Her hardest hue to hold.” This natural imagery expresses the poem’s theme of decline. The early, pale green leaves of spring and the flowers of the next couplet are beautiful but transient, subsiding to the dark green leaves of late spring and summer. He then links this image with the transient paradise of Eden and the ephemeral beauty of the dawn, leading up to his last line stating the poem’s title and theme: “Nothing gold can stay.” Perfection comes and then goes far too soon.