Poetry Review #2

The poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” composed by Robert Frost in 1922 was published in his New Hampshire volume on 7th March 1923. Each verse follows an ‘a-a-b-a’ rhyme scheme except for the last verse.


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.

What I love about this poem is that it seems to be a very simple poem describing the woods, the snow, and the night. But as we reach the last verse, it takes a turn and the repetition of “And miles to go before I sleep” slowly sinks in. Leaving a soft “Ahh…” of sudden realisation that we get by the end. And now we must read it again! Word by word, verse by verse.
The second reading reveals a deeper meaning and now the repetition of “And miles to go before I sleep” seems to hold the weight of our life’s ambitions that we aspire to fulfil till we finally sleep forever. This brings us to realise the basic conflict between the wish to stay admiring a beautiful scene and the pull of responsibilities. And this is something we all can relate too.

This tension between responsibility and desire is clearer when you read it the second time. It very beautifully describes our struggles of wanting to stop to admire the beauties of nature and just rest. Nothing has changed since 1922, we all still rush about our lives hardly having any time to rest or just be!


© 2020 Ashwini Nawathe, Kaleidoscope of My Life
All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “Poetry Review #2

  1. I remember studying this in college. It immediately captured my attention and has become one of my favourite poems. The last verse speaks volumes to me of the responsibilities I need to see through even if I wish otherwise.

  2. Hey,

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