Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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.
--Robert Frost

This poem is arguably one of the most beloved American poems ever written. I think it's because it so beautifully captures a moment that many of us have experienced -- they quiet entrancing beauty of falling snow. It doesn't matter that many people haven't got woods to watch snow fall on -- my most memorable snow watching happened in the middle of St. Petersburg Russia walking past the Cathedral on the Blood (one of the most beautiful buildings in the world) beside the canal and staring directly up into the falling snow as it sparkled in the streetlights.

Most of us don't have horses either, though I think it's an important part of the poem to have something observing the observer. The horse is not quite silent, but the single shake of jingle bells only accentuates how very hushed the world is. There's no wind blowing, no birds chirping, no bustling crowds, and the soft presence of the snow dampens the few sounds that are there.

I haven't got any snow this year (or any prospect of it), and rain, though welcome and hypnotic in its own right is not quite the same. A few of my friends in other parts of the country recently posted pictures of snow and how it changed their perspective, so this seemed like a good day to post this poem that I've been saving.

The end of the poem reminds me that I ought to sign off -- I too have miles to go before I sleep (it's my day to go visit my grandparents in HB, and I also have work to do on my manga rewrites). At the same time it reminds me that it's important to take the time to stop and look at the beautiful things around you -- even if it is just for a few moments. I haven't been doing that this week since I've been neglecting my blog. I've come to realize that it really is a great way for me to find a little bit of beauty every day and really reflect on what I'm feeling.


  1. Thanks for sharing. This has long been one of my favorite poems and one of the few that I ever memorized. It was fun to see it here and I enjoyed your comments.

  2. I remember reciting this to my horse once while riding through the woods while it was snowing. I don't remember if there was anyone else around or not.

    Reportedly, someone asked Frost why he repeated the last line twice, and he said that he just couldn't think of anything else. Or so I've heard.

  3. I came in from shoveling the first significant snow of the season off our driveway and walk and this poem was waiting for me.

    Thanks for the poem, thanks for the snow.