Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

A little tribute for this, the longest night of the year, Robert Frost's marvelous poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Whose woods were they? Of what significance are these dark woods to this rider? What were those promises he aimed to keep? And why the duplicate reinforcement at the end regarding the length of the journey?

It's a simple poem, but the great poets take simple observations to new levels of understanding.

The relationship between the horse and rider is also interesting. The horse doesn't fully grasp the rider's pause. Is it melancholy, nostalgic dreams, a glimpse of something lost, or perhaps of something spectacular. And maybe that is the poet's gift to us, to paint a simple image, a moment in time, and allow our own souls to engage it, to make it ours.

Here a few images of my own from last night as the snow continued to challenge all the planned activities of this pre-Christmas weekend. Nothing so wonderful as this poem by Mr. Frost, the San Francisco born New Englander who received four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost

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.


Sandra said...

Thank you for the poem. I am well aware of the last stanza, but I don't remember the rest of it. It is a lovely poem and your snow covered trees are beautiful.

ENNYMAN said...

Yes, the snow is so pristine and beautiful, even it it's a bit of work to deal with now and then.

And yes, the poem is lovely...
thanks for the note.

LEWagner said...

That's one of my favorite poems.
I don't know if I like the snow pictures or not. ;>)
When I'd cut spruce trees for poles for the greenhouses, they'd all be snow-covered like that, and when I'd hit them the first time with the ax, the snow would all go down the back of my neck.
The spruce swamp always reminded me of that poem -- it would be pretty dark in there, even in the daytime, and there could be a howling wind outside the swamp, but in there, it would be perfectly quiet.
When it's 30 below, when you throw a pole onto a pile of poles, the sound rings out like a bell. I can still smell the smells of that swamp.

ENNYMAN said...

LEW: I can see why that would be a favorite of yours... and yes, there is something special about those quiet places in the woods.

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood is also a favorite of mine, maybe because no matter what stage in life you are at, you can relate to it...

Speaking of 30 below... it was 35 below here this a.m. Brrr... The sound of the snow squeaking as I walk to my garage in the a.m. is always a clue that it's a cold one.

M Denise C said...

E, On CBS Sunday Morning yesterday, Charles Osgood played the piano and sang the poem? Did you get to see it or did it remind you about it? I love that show. I forget how awesome this poem is . . . Denise

ENNYMAN said...

Interesting. Wow... No I did not hear it or see it. We don't really watch much TV, but being the longest day of the year and one especially snowy across the Midwest, I suppose it was an easy thing to come into a lot of peoples' minds. Thanks for sharing.