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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963 / San Francisco)

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
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Comments about this poem (A Soldier by Robert Frost )

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  • Anna Papadopoulou (11/22/2010 7:49:00 AM)

    Well, i've read and read this poem over and over again. Everytime feels like the first, for it trigers different emotional aspirations; different than those i had experienced when reading it for the very first time as a university pupil.
    I've even taken the time to read some of the comments made by other people who have done the same. To me it feels like the darkest night of the year is the route towards the end of one's life.
    The beauty that surrounds the man on the horse is the beauty of life that each and every one of us is bound to experience throughout the course of life.
    Sleep is traditionally related and even refered to as the 'brother' of death in early romantic poets; in English poetry. This is rather evident here, for the poet mentions he has a long way to travel before he goes to sleep.
    The profound imagery of the poem suggests that the beauty without meets the beauty within the man. As part of nature we all might stop and experience such magnificent moments. The falling of rain, the last remaining light in the horizon right before the sunset, to mention but a few.
    The fact that the man travels alone is yet another point that supports the desolate trip through life tha each of us embarks on.
    Finally, as regards to the 1st half of the last stanza of the poem: 'the woods are lovely.....to keep' i believe is indicative of the ongoing procedures in the course of life. For even in the darkest hours of one's living there is evident need to move on; whatever direction-just the same!
    The sense of the evergoing and merciless time that surpasses all that is understandible and humaine.
    Just wanted to share these thoughts with you.....should anyone read the comment, please respond. Thank you

    16 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • W. Trousdale (10/24/2010 1:29:00 AM)

    To me, this poem is about observing the beauty around you while fulfilling your obligations.

    I invision a country doctor making visits to his patients.

    His horse, obviously well versed in his course, expresses his expectation to proceed to the home of the rider's next patient. The horse is referenced twice. The horse goes from point A to point B, without stopping and would find it queer (odd) to stop along the way. The horse also asks if there is a mistake by shaking his head to get the attention of the rider.

    In astronomical terms, 'The darkest evening of the year, ' would be the winter equinox if in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the day (December 20 - December 23, depending on the year) when the evening is the longest of the year, thus, the 'darkest evening of the year.' This is a time of year when most people would be at home with family. Instead, he is striking out to satisfy 'promises' to people relying on him.

    Robert Frost references the rider's promises to keep. A country doctor takes those promises seriously. He feels the weight of his journey by repeating the phrase, 'And miles to go before I sleep.' The weight of those promises is compounded by the repetition. Even though he feels the significant responsibility of the tasks ahead of him, he takes the time to ponder the beauty and magnitude of his surroundings.

    My interpretation is that we need to 'stop and smell the roses' in our journey through life.

  • J. Smith (9/24/2010 7:17:00 PM)

    Michelle, I have also been haunted by the last line of this great poem. I've been looking for the movie title and just found it! It's 'Telefon' (1977) with Charles Bronson.

  • Michelle Freeman (9/2/2010 11:37:00 AM)

    I remembered the last verse of this poem being used in a movie from the 60s or 70s, an espionage/thriller kind of film. Reading it now, the poem sounds beautiful and dreamlike (although I have never experienced winter) but in the movie the verses took on a more sinister guise that sent chills down my spine. Can't remember the name of the movie now but the poem is what I remembered the most.

  • Tim Palmer (8/21/2010 10:13:00 PM)

    I looked this poem up tonight due to my wife remembering part of it from school many years ago. It is the first time I have ever read it and I love it.

    To me this sounds like a local traveler that has taken a short break and realizes the beauty of what he sees, yet understands his responsibilities.

    There is the beauty in the natural silence of the woods, the mesmerizing falling of the snow as it blankets over everything, and the ease of the wind. (All of which sound so inviting to me.)

    During his break he is tempted to stay and enjoy the woods and the snow but he understands that he has made promises which he needs to keep before he rests.

    Basically I think it is saying to take time to stop and enjoy life, but not to the extent that it keeps you from keeping your promises. (Take time to smell the roses, but don’t dilly dally around.)

    I guess that is the beauty of a well written poem, it can speak to many different people and provide so much to each of them based upon what is happing to them at the time and upon their personalities.

  • Israh Sadan (8/17/2010 3:17:00 PM)

    This poem is so vivid, so beautiful, its musical. The wording so clear n descriptive that one almost feels the cold and hears this silence snow fall. Without having to read too deeply this poem can be enjoyed for how simply woundeful it sounds when read. But if I had to delve deeper I'd say its about journey we all take, from childhood to adulthood, how hard times seem like dark times, and how easy it seems sometimes to simply give in. But we all have promises to keep, parents to make proud, obligations to fullfil, therefore miles to go before we sleep. Its not a poem about death necessarily. Its about carrying on even when you think no-one is watching, or when all you really want is to rest. Always remember, every task, job or challenge you take is a promise you make. And someone of good character would go the distance before they rest.

  • Poetry Moves Me Jake (8/8/2010 9:36:00 PM)

    To me, the man whose house is in the village is representing Jesus Christ. He is stopping to admire God's creation just for a second. He wishes he could have more time but he has to go on in life, because he has 'miles to go before I sleep'. Sleep meaning death.

    So stopping by woods on a snowy evening is enjoying what God has given you before you die.

    Its just my interperitation.

  • Lady Dragoness (7/10/2010 2:30:00 AM)

    Notice also that line 3 of each verse rhymes with lines 1,2, and 4 of the following verse... until you get to the last verse. Speculations that I have encountered are that Frost chose to end the poem in the powerful repetition because his other choice would have been to loop back to the beginning by rhyming the third line of the final verse with lines 1,2, and 4 of the first verse. It is possible he could not find an appropriate line to accomplish that task. I do love his final choices though.

  • Howard 'the motivational poet' Simon (6/24/2010 10:58:00 AM)

    This indeed is an incredable poem! It is an ageless masterpiece that seems to be like good wine. I do agree with all that my frind Yacov has said except, 'It is technically flawless.' For it to have been technically flawless the last word of the third line in the final verse would have to be replaced by changing sleep to rest or another appropriate work. That however does not take away from the poem because no one but Frost would know it he wanted the poem to have been technically flawless. My belief is that he decided to end the poem with a powerful repetition instead of keeping to the form of the first three virse which has the first, second and forth lines rhyming.
    It is indeed a great poem.

  • Yacov Mitchenko (6/22/2010 2:49:00 AM)

    In my view, this is Frost's best poem and one of the greatest one-paged poems in the English language. It is technically flawless; I cannot add or subtract a single word without harming the poem. Perhaps many scholars have overanalyzed it, reading too much into it. As far as I can see, there are two legitimate interpretations. One is that a man stops to rest by snowy woods, where it is profoundly and stirringly quiet. It's the 'darkest evening of the year' - which here can be taken literally. 'The woods are lovely, dark and deep' simply means what is says - namely, that they are dark and deep (you can see it, can't you?) , and that the speaker is stirred by the magical scenery. But the speaker can't stay for as long as he'd like, for he has pressing responsibilities.

    A second interpretation hinges on 'The woods are lovely, dark and deep'. Rather than the line simply describing a beautiful scene, it also suggests a contemplation of suicide. I'm aware of some other interpretations, but they seem a stretch to me.

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