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Robert Frost reads 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.

After staying up the whole night working on another poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening came to Robert Frost as “a hallucination” as he took a breath outside and saw the rising sun. He wrote his vision down and luckily while in this trance no one knocked on the door or rang him up to break the fluid poem written in four stanzas of four lines in iambic tetrameter (four feet to a line) and a rhyme scheme that uses four rhymes (know, here, lake, sweep) that flow intricately and effortlessly toward its end, home, a perfect place we know (and hope) with warmth and love and artifice and soul, the last four lines all ending with the same reassuring sounds of sleep and keep, far from the lovely sweep of cold deep snow.

Writers write so much, and good ones know, when all is said and done, very little lasts beyond their time and place. Frost thought and wrote to his friend Louis Untermeyer that Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening was “my best bid for remembrance”.


  1. Marvin R. Hiemstra

    Thank you for the breathtaking photographs of the woods!

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