made a pass at

Dovah

Senior Member
Vietnamese
...

Don't discount our powers;
We have made a pass
At the infinite,


...
[Over-long quoted text reduced to permissible limits. DonnyB - moderator]

These are some lines from Robert Frost's Kitty Hawk. The poem is about the town of Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers made the very first flight in the history. And in his book A Promised Land, Obama quoted three lines (the bold ones above) from that poem.

Don't discount our powers;
We have made a pass
At the infinite,


I found it hard to catch the sense of those lines (they must be something special, some important messages). Of course, I know that understanding a poem is sometimes challenging to even native speakers. But I sill love to hear some explanations from you.

Many thanks!
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    (they must be something special, some important messages)
    You might think so, but never discount pure rhetoric. :)

    To discount = to dismiss; to ignore
    to make a pass (in this context - not in some others)= to strike a blow;
    at the infinite = at outer space. (The implication being that the Wright brothers' flight led the way to space travel.)
     
    Last edited:

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    ...

    Don't discount our powers;
    We have made a pass
    At the infinite,


    ...
    [Over-long quoted text reduced to permissible limits. DonnyB - moderator]

    These are some lines from Robert Frost's Kitty Hawk. The poem is about the town of Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers made the very first flight in the history. And in his book A Promised Land, Obama quoted three lines (the bold ones above) from that poem.

    Don't discount our powers;
    We have made a pass
    At the infinite,


    I found it hard to catch the sense of those lines (they must be something special, some important messages). Of course, I know that understanding a poem is sometimes challenging to even native speakers. But I sill love to hear some explanations from you.

    Many thanks!
    I'd say to make a pass at the infinite here means to attempt to reach the infinite.

    The idea is surely that by trying to fly, the Wright brothers attempt to enter a different dimension.
     
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