Skip to comments.Robert Frost, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Posted on 12/31/2009 7:41:18 AM PST by #1CTYankee
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I'm not big on poetry but I've always found this work to be one on the finest. (although The Raven is my favorite)
Oh, in October I worked an event at the Georgian Mansion where mrs. jimfree is employed. A Taste of Amontillado featured period food and wine pairings with accompanying readings from early 19th century works. I read an abridged The Cask of Amontillado as well as The Raven.
I agree that Raven is one of the greatest poems of all time combining rhythm, lyricism, and imagery in an amazing way.
I thought this fine poem would garner some attention and thoughtfull discusion, maybe I thought wrong.
I never could interpret poetry. But it’s snowing here this morning, and this one makes me want to go saddle up and take a ride in the woods.
A beautiful poems about someone taking time for a moment of meditation in a workaday world.
But we can’t always stay in that moment of meditation, we have to return to the world where there are miles to go, promises to keep.
It’s such a great poem because it is self-contained, to the point, the language is very simple.
As an old (and I do mean old) English major, I will say that this has always been one of my favorites and not ‘worthy’ of the caustic remarks that it sometimes causes.
I have always thought that Frost was saying the following:
The scene he describes (in remarkably simple yet full-view words) is speaking to his soul; to a peacefulness in him that is deep (deep woods). It also is quiet, as in the quiet of his soul.
His horse, shaking the bells on the harness, is the clash (clasing bells) between the inner soul and the harsh realities of the outer world that requires attention to responsibilities.
Hence, does he let himself be lost forever in the quiet and peacefulness of his soul, or attend to his responsibilities? Or, put another way, how long can he allow himself to stay here in the woods and enjoy the serenity of the scene and how it touches his soul?
In the end, he attends to his responsibilities, knowing that one day, at long last, he will be able to stop and rest in the peacefulness of his soul.
Thank you for posting this poem on the last day of the year. May we all have a peaceful and blessed New Year.
Things are so tense and messed up these days I thought this simple post would gave a nostalgic and calming effect.
My favorite Frost poem:
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
I don’t know much about poetry, but I always thought that there was a subtle contemplation of suicide in that poem. At least that was discussed in my college poetry class way back when.
No snowy woods to provide an escape these days. We just tune in to ESPN.
BTW your never too old to help out a whippersnapper of 49. ;-D
As with most of the best poetry, it is about death.
I've read that as well but always taken it as obligations which need to be fulfilled.
I don’t think it is as far as suicide in the real sense. Perhaps ‘suicide’ in the sense of abandoning the grounded-in-sense-and-responsibilities versus ‘jumping off into a world of artistry and artists’. Had he done the latter, he would have been ‘dead’ in the sense of the esteem, or any value placed on him, by those in the real world in which he lived.
I interpret it as the tugging of the longing for living in the world of the artist and his soul versus the vastly opposite world of day to day life in which he lived.
Another thought: It is perhaps the not uncommon situation of a truly gifted artist born into a very narrowly defined environment. It happens all the time and few ever break out of the confines of the world into which they are born.
Hence, depression is not uncommon. Perhaps Frost was letting himself indulge in a state of depression as he glimpsed his inner world reflected in the outer world, as he sat there enjoying the beauty of raw nature. Having his inner world and outer world meet as equals was not common (perhaps he would have experienced this had he been a professor somewhere, surrounded by other artists).
I suspect he had a wonderful imagination and was one of the rare folks who can easily slip into an inner world, making him very different from his immediate neighbors. This is perhaps seen in the poem about building rock walls; he allows himself to contemplate the significance of the wall, while his neighbor/helper is merely building a wall.
The rhymes seem basic, at first, but the alternation and reflection of endings through the stanzas doesn’t fit a standard pattern. It sounds very interesting when read aloud.
Wan’t this poem plagiarized from Al Gore’s work? Except his was about watching snow melt?
I actually have been to the spot that Frost was supposed to have stopped in the woods & been inspired to write this poem. Not too far from my Vermont house.
Frost was actually a somewhat nasty person. And, did you know, that you can sing this poem to the music from “Hernando’s Hide-away?”
Also, all Emily Dickenson poem’s can be sung to “The Yellow Rose of Texas”
All of Al Gore’s speeches can be sung to the tune of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man,” too.
Hey bud, good to talk to you!
Does it really have to be about death or could it be more about obligations and responsibility?
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