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
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.
I never tire of reading this poem.
Its lines have a magical beauty to them that both haunts and seduces.
Who owns these silent woods in which we are riding?
Why do we think we know him?
What are these dark woods in which we find ourselves?
Why are we drawn to them?
Why do we stop to watch them ‘fill up with snow’ on this, ‘the darkest evening of the year’?
What are the ‘promises to keep’ before we ‘sleep’?
I don’t know if there’s an answer to these questions.
I don’t even know why this poem means so much to me.
All I know is that when I find myself in woods and night falls, the words of this poem tend to surface in my mind.
And thinking about them makes the way home seem shorter.