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. –– Robert Frost
Robert Frost and his horse, where are they going, seated on a horse and it passing through the forest tract? The scenery is excellent, a world viewed afresh after a snowfall or the snowflakes falling lightly and the silent world of nature draped in that silence and imagery, looking fresh, filled with snow and pleasant enough. The horse is passing, it is getting dark as has to go a long way, but the imagery is pleasant enough, quite captivating and calling upon, fascinating and charming no doubt, so mysterious and magical. The heart does not like to be detached from.
The evening descending upon, enveloping the area and has a long way to go crossing the tract so mysterious and mystical, so lonely and man less and there lies the farmhouse where the family lies it waiting and have to go, have to go and have also to attend, attend some duty to be done for family, society and the nation which are but obligatory and one ought to have definitely but the sides of the same picture.
But the beauty of Nature as such the forest seems to be holding the hand and letting him not go just like the mariner of Coleridge holding the hands of the wedding guest and telling the tales in The Rime of The Ancient Mariner.
How strange is it to ask, whose woods are these as he thinks it so! Who the owner of the forests? But asking it he takes it for that his house will be there in the village. But will he whoever be it like to see him stopping and marking the woods that evening with the evening descending upon and the flakes falling? Would it be right to stop it here? We too are not sure of if he stops by to watch the beauty and mystery of the forest or just keeps taking a passer-by’s eye-view of the scenery and landscape.
His horse also finds it strange to stop by in between the woods and the frozen lake. Why is he slowing to make it stop? Why is trying to pull the reins? There is no farmhouse here but instead of why he wants to stop by, the poor animal appears to be thinking. The rainfall, the evening make the evening the darkest one of the year, never seen before. At this time, should one? Will it be not one’s folly? Is it not his mistake to stop here?
The horse makes the bells shake to feel that it is no use stopping here rather than to be in motion, rather than keep going. It is sighing by, the easy sweep of the wind and the downy flake the other side.
Given the situation under, what should he do? He thinks it within to be answered back to feel it inwardly. When counselled from within, taking the soul in confidence, he gets the answer. He has miles and miles to go before he sleeps, yea, miles and miles to go before he goes way from here. He has duties to attend to, to his family, society and the nation which he has not so far and these need to be. The words are lovely, dark and deep no doubt, but he has also promises to keep.
The poet has not made it clear where are they going? Where is his place to go? Whose forest is it indeed? Who the owner of it? Whose farmhouse does he talk about? Why does he want to stop by? Whose horse is he riding? From which place is he going where? What duty has he to do with scenery watching? Why does he want to cut short his visit?
The horseman has to go miles before he sleeps. But it is not clear, where has he to reach by? What his promises to keep? Whom has he promised to? What his obligations and loyalties? What his duties to do?
The poem is full of lovely imagery as for mystery lurking around, the snowflakes falling lightly, the evening taking over, darkness descending upon and it going to be enveloped in darkness and the poet as a horseman on horse-back passing through, pausing by to catch hold of the captivating scenery of the sight and the landscape. The horse seems to be questioning the master why does he want to stop where there is no farmhouse. But the poet as horseman the traveller lost into the thought of his own, thinking it otherwise, moved by the forest scenery draped in flakes and the wind soothing by.
The bells tinkling make us remind of the bells tied around the necks of cattle of Gray grazing upon the landscape near the country churchyard. The horse thinking about why the master wants to stop near a forest reminds us also of the horse champing green grass from the turf near the haunted house and that too under the moonlight in The Listeners of Walter de la Mare.
It is a song of America and Americanness, the American pastoral romanticism, farmhouses, snow-covered woodlands and Nature scenery and landscape.
It is a song of life and the traveller’s view of the world. The lessons of life are as thus so the ways of the world taking to. Where to go? How to keep the promises? But one must. One must fulfil one’s promises made to.
The paths of life are as such.
It is also a poem of horse-riding and scenery watching. The world of Nature is different from the world of man. How the ways of the world? How the ways of man?
The woods are definitely lovely, deep and dark and the path too crossing through the tract so hilarious full of awe and suspense as for the evening descending and darkness taking over with the scenery of the downy flake and the wind soothing by.&