Oct 2, 2012

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Take a moment and lose yourself in what I consider to be one of the greatest pieces of poetry ever written, by Vermont poet Robert Frost. My thoughts about this piece of poetry follow.

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.

With an economy of words, Frost creates a moment, a magical moment, enjoyed by a solitary person deep in the woods, with no one else about for miles. This poem, and the imagery it creates, gives me the chills.

The man is on his horse, on his way back from some journey through a bleak, grey Vermont winter afternoon, the sleigh bells on the horse creating a musical sound in the deep, woodsy stillness, mingled with the swish swish swish swish of the hooves through the flawless white powder.

The man stops his horse.

The bells cease their jingling.

Silence descends.

A light snow, just a small collection of flakes, drifts lazily down from the rapidly darkening sky, which is evolving from a battleship grey to a charcoal color. The darkness between the endless trees which surround him on all sides deepens.

The man looks around, pausing to take in the deep silence of the winter woods. The warmth and comfort of his home remain far ahead...it will be dark by the time his journey is completed on his little horse.

But yet he pauses.

Quiet clouds of moisture rise from the nostrils of his little horse, dispersing in the darkening air. The only other sound the man can hear is the soft, almost imperceptible sigh of air moving through the trees. With all the little details and big responsibilities demanded of life, out here there is nothing but a deep, serene silence, surrounded by snow covered trees that will never speak.

When he continues on his journey, this moment will be gone forever.

But he has responsibilities, people depending on him. With reluctance, he coaxes his horse forward, and continues his journey through the darkening woods, to traverse the miles he must travel before he can rest.

The quiet moment will be his alone, now gone forever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this is the closest illustration of the woods which is stopped by the writer. So dark and deep.