“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
Submitted by Laura Bang
Laura Bang is Falvey Memorial Library’s Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, and she submitted “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” perhaps one of Frost’s most well known and beloved poems. It was included in Frost’s collection New Hampshire, published in 1923, for which he won the first of his four Pulitzer Prizes.
The speaker of “Stopping by Woods” is caught in a moment of choosing between the tranquility of nature and the responsibilities of life and society. One well-known interpretation suggests that the poem is a meditation on death and draws the distinction between eternal peace, rather than natural tranquility, and the hustle and bustle of daily life.
With the holiday season upon us it is easy to imagine oneself in the speaker’s shoes and the desire for moments of peacefulness at odds with all of the responsibilities that this time of year brings. If you find yourself feeling as though you have far too many miles to go before you sleep, try to find a few moments throughout the day to stop by your own metaphorical wood and take a few deep breaths to get you through all that lies ahead.
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.
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