Few other poems could be as appropiate on winter solstice day, the darkest evening of the year, than Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Firstly, it’s one of his most read and quoted poems and secondly, the underlying tone pairs perfectly with any cold winter day. If you’re familiar with Frost’s writing, you’ll recognize the simplicity and the feeling of quietness — the winter landscape, the falling snow, the silence… but also the underlying, deeper meaning that the reader might want to sink into (or not).
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.
You can read and take in the winter scenery and the tired traveller who longs for a rest literally, as described to us, or interpret the poem as a representation of someone too tired to carry on (with his/her choice or life?), tempted to give in and finally rest, but comes to his/her senses; there are obligations to fulfill —promises to keep— and many years ahead —miles to go before I sleep— before he/she can succumb to the tempting dark and deep.
Whereas there is no correct way of reading the poem —any poem— the two examples of interpretation here described are mere suggestions. The only true version is the one that strikes a chord with you.
Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.Robert Frost