27 December, 2011

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,
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…..

By – Robert Frost

Meaning of this Poem:
.......“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” presents one person’s momentary encounter with nature. We do not know whether the speaker (narrator) is a man or a woman. In fact, we know nothing at all about the person except that he or she has been travelling on a country road in a horse-drawn wagon (or cart or carriage) on "the darkest evening of the year." If by this phrase the speaker/narrator means the longest night of the year—that is, the night with the most hours of darkness–then the day is either December 21 or 22. In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs each year on one of those days. The solstice is the moment when the sun is farthest south. However, if by "darkest evening" he means most depressing, bleakest, or gloomiest, he may be referring to his state of mind.

.......Let us assume that the speaker is a man, the poet Frost himself, who represents all people on their journey through life. When he sees an appealing scene, woods filling with snow, he stops to observe. Why does this scene appeal to him? Because, he says, the woods are “lovely, dark, and deep.”
.......Perhaps he wishes to lose himself in their silent mystery, away from the routine and regimen of everyday life—at least for a while. Maybe the woods remind him of his childhood, when he watched snow pile up in hopes that it would reach Alpine heights and cancel school and civilization for a day. Or perhaps the woods represent risk, opportunity—something dangerous and uncharted to be explored. It could be, too, that they signify the mysteries of life and the afterlife or that they represent sexual temptation: They are, after all, lovely, dark, and deep.
.......The traveler might also regard the woods as the nameless, ordinary people who have great beauty within them but are ignored by others.

The woods in Frost’s poem are just as lovely as the flower and just as dark and deep as the cave holding the gem, but civilization pays little heed to the gem, the flower, and the woods.
.......Perhaps Frost sees the woods as a symbol of the vanishing wilderness consumed by railroads, highways, cities, shopping centers, parking lots. A man in the village owns the woods now. What will he do with them?

Frost's subconscious mind was speaking in the poem, revealing thoughts and desires unknown to his conscious mind........Maybe, in the end, the woods and the snow are what they are: quiet, peaceful, beautiful. Although the traveler wants to stay to look at them, he has promises to keep, and miles to go before he sleeps.

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