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 5
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. 10
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, 15
And miles to go before I sleep.
Although the woods do not belong to the speaker, the speaker describes how beautiful the woods are when you simply admire them without any purpose. The speaker takes a ride with his horse through the woods that “fill up with snow” (4). These woods are not his though, they are someone who he “think[s] [he] know[s]” (1). The speaker stops “without a farmhouse near” and “between the woods and frozen lake” (6-7). There is no reason to stop in that place. The speaker merely wants to stop there to admire the dense woods fill up with snow.
While his horse questions why the speaker stops in the random place in the woods, the speaker listens to the only other sound “of easy wind and downy flake” (12). The woods are extremely peaceful and quiet which the speaker loves. He wants to stay in these woods and admire the beauty. Unfortunately, he cannot admire the beauty for long because the speaker has obligations and “promises to keep” (14). In addition he has “miles to go before [he] sleep[s]” (15). This sentence is repeated twice which emphasizes the daunting task he must complete. The speaker has to go these miles even though he wants to enjoy the spacious woods.
I chose this poem because it symbolizes how our lives can carry us away from what we truly desire. I believe the speaker and many of us humans take actions that do not lead us to our goals. The speaker wants to stop in the woods and admire it, but he has promises to keep and miles to go before he sleeps. He is unable to enjoy nature because of the obligations of the journey. This relates to many people who forget to enjoy the pleasures in life because they are so caught up in their tasks and jobs, which they many not even like. We have miles to go to complete the daunting tasks that we do not want to complete. Yet, we still complete these daunting, unenjoyable tasks because they are the “right” thing to do. I believe the poem shows that we should enjoy the woods that are “lovely, dark, and deep” instead of keeping these unfulfilling promises. Frost tells us to enjoy nature and your passions before it is too late.