In this poem, the poet contrasts the lives of poor and deprived countryside people who struggle to live, with the thoughtless city people who don’t even bother to notice the roadside stand that these people have put up to sell their goodies.
Lines 1 to 6
The poem starts with the description of the roadside stand and the intention behind it. A small time farmer builds a vegetable stand at the edge of the highway outside his house in the hope that passing cars would buy the produce and earn a bit of the money that supports cities from falling into ruin. He only wants to earn a living, he is not begging for money.
Lines 7 to 13
However, no cars ever stop and the ones that even glance in the direction of the stand without any feeling of compassion or relatedness (out of sorts) only comment about how the construction spoils the view of the surroundings or how badly painted the wrongly pointed North and South signs are or to notice without interest the wild berries and squash for sale in the stand or the beautiful mountain scene.
Lines 13 to 22
The farmer tells the rich travelers to keep their money if they meant to be mean and that the hurt to the view is not as important as the sorrow he feels on being ignored. He only wishes for some (city) money so that he may experience the plush life (make our beings expand) portrayed by the movies and other media, which the political parties are said to be refusing him.
Lines 23 to 31
Frost goes on to say that even though these people have benefactors (good-doers), who plan to relocate them in villages where they can have easy access to the cinema and the store, they are actually selfish (‘greedy good-doers’ and ‘beasts of prey’) and only help these "pitiful kin" to indirectly advantage themselves. The altruists wish to make these villagers completely dependent on them for all their benefits and comforts, thus robbing them of the ability to think for themselves and be independent. 'The ancient way' could mean the old way when people worked during the day and slept at night. This is being reversed by the new 'greedy good doers' who teach these people to not use their brain. They are unable to sleep at night because they haven't worked during day time or because they are troubled by their new lifestyle.
Lines 32 to 43
Frost then talks about his personal feelings, saying that he can hardly bear the thought of the farmer's dashed hopes. The open windows of the farmer's house seem to wait all day just to hear the sound of a car stopping to make a purchase. However they are always disappointed, as vehicles only stop to enquire the price, to ask their way ahead, to reverse or ask for a gallon of gas. 'The polished traffic' refers to the rich class who drive their cars to their destinations (with a mind ahead) probably to another city unmindful of the countryside roadside stand and if at all they did get distracted by the countryside (if ever aside a moment) they seemed out of place in it (out of sorts).
Another explanation for theses words given by classmate in yahoo answers seems to make better sense. (http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100303014238AAyfWnz)
Clearly "out of sorts" does not mean "out of place." It means "annoyed." The drivers see the roadside stand with its clumsy, hand-painted signs as a blemish on the rural landscape they're driving through.
By calling the traffic "polished," Frost is stressing a contrast that is central to the poem -- the shiny vehicles driven by well-to-do city folk vs. the unsophisticated, semi-literate, "artless" stand set up by an impoverished farmer.
Lines 44 to 51
According to the poet, the progress required has not been found by these country folk (“the requisite lift of spirit"). Their lifestyles provide ample evidence to support this fact. He sometimes feels that it might be best to simply put these people out of their pain and hardships of existence. However, once rational thinking returns to his mind, he wonders how HE would feel if someone offered to do him this supposed service.
Wolfer, one of the readers ahs this pertinent comment:
Because the greedy good doers are robbing them of their ability to think during the day and they sleep throughout the day, so they are unable to sleep at night(as is the ancient custom) because they aren't sleepy anymore.
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