Treasure Island

Robert Frost

(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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  • Shihabudheen K J (12/6/2010 12:20:00 PM)

    My comment on this great poem is what already made by great reviewers like w.trusdale.its simple and lends an exotic touch of beauty and mesmerising chill one would encounter while passing through a snowy background like kashmir.i wish one day with my beautiful horse i could enjoy the beauty of kashmir woods upon one equinox dark. (Report) Reply

  • 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 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 (Report) Reply

  • 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. (Report) Reply

  • 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. (Report) Reply

  • 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. (Report) Reply

  • 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. (Report) Reply

  • 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. (Report) Reply

  • 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. (Report) Reply

  • 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. (Report) Reply

  • 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. (Report) Reply

  • 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. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Varner (6/15/2010 7:13:00 PM)

    Some people believe Robert Frost's 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' is about a person stopping to enjoy nature. However, I do not believe this is the case. We are told that it is, 'The darkest evening of the year.' This might mean that it is the winter solstice or it is literally the darkest night so far this year. In the title of the poem, Frost tells us that it is a snowy evening. We are also told that it is windy and that the snow is deep in the woods. Next, Frost describes a frozen lake. Therefore, I do not believe this person has stopped to enjoy the view of the woods on a windy, snowy, cold, and dark evening. I believe Frost's poem is about a person stopping to answer the call of nature (crap) . The person is clearly in a hurry to arrive at his next destination because he has made some unknown promise that must be kept and apparently, the person has not slept in a while. I believe there is no other logical reason for this person to have stopped. My belief is further supported by Frost's description of the person being familiar enough with the area that the person thinks he or she knows who the owner of the woods is. The horse is confused by the sudden stop far from any farmhouse. The person perceives the woods as a place of privacy to take relief because the woods are 'lovely, dark and deep'. The person is afraid to leave the horse because it might leave on its own. The horse has a harness that leads me to believe that it is pulling a wagon. The person cannot take the horse over to the woods because the wagon might become stuck in the deep snow. In conclusion, I believe that the person is nearing home but is too far away and can no longer wait to crap. The person is hoping, 'He will not see me stopping here'. (Report) Reply

  • Hans Vr (5/30/2010 4:58:00 AM)

    I am a bit perplexed how deep (and strange) the meanings sought in this wonderfully simple poem Some of you see death, sex and so on.

    I just think that only persons with a poet's soul would stop on a snowy evening at the woods to indulge in the beauty of it all. I think I have had experienced similar magical moments of amazing beauty, when the soul comes really to the surface to just to enjoy and it is perhaps such a moment that Robert wants to share. If these moments occur, you indeed ask yourself why not everybody else is coming to see this, but you typically have these moments all alone. The magic of that beautiful moment is somehow a bit disturbed by the horse that clearly does not share the sense of beauty. He resists for a while and tries to incorporate the horse's impatience in the beauty of the scene but finally the reasoning mind wins over the soul's deep desire to savour more of these amazingly beautiful sights, sounds and smells of falling snow in the woods and he moves on giving in to the reasoning mind, the reasoning mind.

    Don't let your reasoning mind analyse the beauty of this poem finidng extremely deep meanings that are not there. Just let your soul drift in your imagination to the snowy woods and enjoy and relive in the moste poetic way, together with the poet these magical moments. (Report) Reply

  • Jasmine Mahanloo (5/30/2010 3:41:00 AM)

    I don't really read poetry, but a line from this came to mind as I was brushing my teeth. I thought I'd see how the rest of the poem goes. So here's my attempt at interpretation.

    I think this poem is about entering ones private world which often does work as a temptation. In the first paragraph Frost sets this up in the absence of the owner of the woods. Yet it is not only that he is absence but that fact that the traveler is aware of it. Privacy is not only ones aloneness, but is the absence of another.

    This is continued in the next paragraph where the horse wonders at what his owner is doing. One other aspect of being alone is not being understood-to be alone in ones own mind whether this results from the lack of connection with another human or an animal.

    The last paragraph is the resistance to temptation of entering one's own world even though it has many beauties. The promises to keep are not necessarily only those to others, but to oneself. The fulfillment of promises, of life, entails action, so he resists as he has 'miles to go' before he sleeps. (Report) Reply

  • Jyoti Bartaula Acharya (4/26/2010 6:42:00 AM)

    Dear all participants and scholars
    I am very much pleased on knowing diverse opinion and literary appreciation made up on Robert frost’s poem: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Generally, this discussion forum I found to be very good from critical perspective. My analysis is in two perspectives; one on its structure and another on its interpretation in terms of construing the subtleties: beauty of snowfall or contemplation of death of character, as under:
    My first argument is the oddity about the poem, which is its almost rhythmic chant. The rhyme scheme follows the pattern A, A, B, A (exception in last stanza) coupled with the meter, iambic tetrameter, that give the reader a sense of labored marching. This technique is odd when considered by itself. However, when it is put with other underlying subtleties, it becomes clear that Frost’s poem is not about the beauty of a snowfall, it is about the main character’s contemplation of death.
    Imagery is perhaps the second most notable element that gives credence to the subtext of death within Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. When first reading Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, the line, “The darkest evening of the year, ” fits well into the description of snowy evening; the stark contrast of the black night with the white snow. In spite of this, when one looks at the poem in terms of the central character’s death, the line takes on a whole new meaning. For example, for the traveling man, this night is the darkest of his life. (Report) Reply

  • Grissell M (3/30/2010 12:30:00 PM)

    As Hira Ali said, 'sleep' in the last line means death... Though this world has a lot of beauties which seduces us; all of us has a great duty in this world, to reach the sublim... the horse mentioned remember this fact, we are passengers, we should go! ! ! ! !
    It really arouses my soul (Report) Reply

  • Rachael Potts (3/11/2010 7:51:00 PM)

    this first couple times i read this poem i thought of the words and robert frost to me used alot of symbolism. that what he wrote to me compares temptation. and that the poem is talking about how he wants something a woman maybe and he's tempted by but cant bring himself to pursue what he wants and maybe he made a promise that he cant yet fulfill and he has a many things he has to do in order to keep his promise. (Report) Reply

  • Sujit Sinha (3/7/2010 7:30:00 AM)

    Thanks Gracie Rossi. I appreciate your comments. Yes, the poet indeed finds the wood lovely. He does yearn for it, no matter it is dark and wintery. May be he loves the snow too. A man's horse sense would of course not allow him to waste time in such a place. I would be overating sexuality if I agreed with Tori Thompson. (Report) Reply

  • Tori Thompson (3/1/2010 8:07:00 PM)

    I took this poem at first read to be an allusion to the contemplation of infidelity. Women can be thought of as trees: from us come alternately warmth and shade, fresh air and smoke. Passing by another man's real estate a ways away from his main place of residence could be tantamount to meeting another man's wife/woman when that man lives on the other side of town, or is out of town. His 'little horse' in want of a farmhouse could be his penis, if the author is a married/taken man himself, or his conscience, as our conscience carries us to wear we ought to go. The shaking of the bells, a crass sound compared to wind through trees and over snow drifts, could be the juxtaposition of right with temptation. After a momentary debate, the author sticks to his 'promises' and does not give in to the temptation of admiring the 'lovely, dark, and deep' woods. Sleep could be death. So the author vows to resist temptation for the duration of his marriage/relationship, till death they part. (Report) Reply

  • Akanksha Wadhavkar (2/1/2010 9:05:00 AM)

    I like poems made by Robert Frost a lot.There is some kind of emotion hidden behind every poem created by him.He was really a precious poet in the world. (Report) Reply

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