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Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening (great poetry shop)

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

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Last few words: 
I had already chosen this poem before the shop began Then Geezer decided to post his Frost poem lol. I looked at some others like Robert Hayden's "Those winter Sundays" and Dylan Thomas's "Do not go gentle into that good night"..........Then I said what the heck! Nobody said two poems from one poet couldn't be used so here's Frost
Editing stage: 

Comments

This is so you, in that pause of life to drink in a quiet beauty of a woodland scene. We all have a way to go before we sleep, young man ???
Yours as always, Ian.T

.
There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

For Bob having been a New England Yankee and me being a man of the South I have always been surprized at all we have in common. I guess that's one aspect of what can make a poem great : universal appeal............stan

author comment

This poem speaks deeply to me about taking a few moments during the rush of life to pay attention to where we are........but to also not overlook obligations............for I have promises to keep...............stan

author comment

I have always loved this one stan,
and have no erudite remark to make,
it is just fine.

Just GREAT,
love Ann.

"The image of yourself which you see in a mirror Is dead,
but the reflection of the moon on water, lives." Kenzan.

It's one of the few poems I can come close to reciting from memory. The "promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep resonates with me on a personal level.............stan

author comment

Stan, I understand so well,
and not only the sound/rhythm of this poem,
but the closeness of human and horse,
or the communication between the two,
although impossible to explain to the horse
why one stops, any more than, sometimes
the horse stops, without explanation.

Our two psyches puzzled by each other.
And the timing of this sense of something
happening, just now-in the poem-
the shaking of the harness we can hear,
the impatience at standing still in the cold.

A wistful still, where we are made aware
of all around us, that awareness of which
the eastern philosophies speak,
as well as the western in their own way,

such as William Wordsworth's:

"While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.

Ah! Tintern Abbey.

Or Basho's:

Looking carefully,
A shepherd's purse is blooming,
Under the fence.

The end has a different feeling from the first part,
the last verse introducing his errand:
"miles to go before I sleep."
I am not sure what he means here stan?
There the stillness is broken;
and the meaning changed quite a lot for me?
Do give me your explanation,
or are we supposed to be left wondering,
what he has to achieve?

A wonderful description of village life,
where one is aware of things like the woods,
and who they belong to, all is known, familiar.
Like Henry Thoreau in Walden, that sense of
place.

Love Ann.

"The image of yourself which you see in a mirror Is dead,
but the reflection of the moon on water, lives." Kenzan.

It is my belief that the whole poem is a metaphore for a pause in life's journey. The woods(lovely dark and deep) represent the unexplored afterlife. The horse is any man, aware of the changes(aging) taking place around him but having no ideas as to the why. The pause in the woods is Frost taking a time out to consider his life's journey. And the promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep represents protagonist's reluctance to NOT continue that journey due to things left undone............of course I might be reading more into this than Bob actually intended. But if so doesn't that make the poem even better? .....................stan

author comment

Oh stan that is a good analysis,
it fits with my hints from other poets too,
in the pausing, to see, to understand,
to be in the present, to think.

It's that overall peacefulness that permeates this poem
that makes it grab the mind and hold it there,
he entices concentration, and we follow his advice,
and concentrate without quite knowing why.

Yes, Ann.

"The image of yourself which you see in a mirror Is dead,
but the reflection of the moon on water, lives." Kenzan.

Thanks. I am still astounded that a Yankee can write as well as he did (wink). But I guess that simplicity in conveying deeper meaning knows no borders lol..........stan

author comment

Oh wink! we are no different from you,
and when poets, we have no limits by birth,
it all depends on our own sense of the aesthetic
and sensitivity to phenomena, and our psychology.

You have many good poet in USA and it is a big shame,
that we didn't even have an iota of American literature
at the English schools I went to, and that was six of them!!!!!!
Horrors, snobbish lot watt ????

Ann

"The image of yourself which you see in a mirror Is dead,
but the reflection of the moon on water, lives." Kenzan.

Those schools just didn't want you to be exposed to such superior poetry lmao. Just kidding of course..............stan

author comment

this poem passes every test for an All Time Great poem.

You know, given its near universal currency I really wish I could find something to crit about it. But I can't, so I'm going to go sulk in the corner.

cheers,
Jess
Everything changes bar one. Neopoet's 'Prime Directive'-
"Critique don't comment".
https://www.neopoet.com/community-guidelines

Truth to tell the last line being repeated has always bothered me....but not much.......................stan

author comment

Taking the scapel to this poem is like not liking Rashomon or Citizen Kane, you'd just get laughed at. I must say that with constant exposure to this work, it is less powerful to me now than back then.

Ron

Blue Demon77

"What I want is to be what I was before the knife,
before the brooch pin, before the salve, fixed me in this parenthesis:
Horses fluent in the wind. A place, a time gone out of mind."

The Eye Mote-Sylvia Plath

So judging by this and your comment on the road not taken, that you think a poem which is widely known can become less great? I guess that's one way to look at it.................stan

author comment

Oh Ron, this has that timelessness
that makes great poetry great,
that something not quite expressed,
that leaves the reader guessing,
and slowly changes shape and meaning every time one reads it,
like the slow motion opening of the rose,
and the more one reads it,
the more it grows on you, and becomes
like a particular stone one picks up on a beach,
that forever has its attraction every time one sees it,
or holds it,
in this case it is held in our minds as a perception of worth,
at least that's how I see it stan,
you too I guess. No?

Love Ann.

"The image of yourself which you see in a mirror Is dead,
but the reflection of the moon on water, lives." Kenzan.

As I've said before in this shop, It's my opinion that a poem can not become truly great unless it stands the test of time. That is one reason that I decided to have poetry by fellow members included here. It's easy to say a poem is great which has already been judged so by many people over many years. The tough thing is trying to determine poetry which might Become great. Perhaps one day our children or their children will say "Yes. i recall Ann, or Stan or Jayne talking about----------------------and how they enjoyed his/her poetry back when he/she first showed up on line.........................stan

author comment

Should we have chosen contemporary poets maybe, because we haven't have we Stan?

Love Ann.

"The image of yourself which you see in a mirror Is dead,
but the reflection of the moon on water, lives." Kenzan.

A resounding NO. That would have put an artificial limit on choices. Then we'd also have to determine what contemporary means. Only those still living? Only poetry written in last decade, or two decades. I think having to choose a poem by a neo member took care of present day writers don't you?............stan

author comment

Well...it's a bit limited here I think. stan.

Love Ann.

"The image of yourself which you see in a mirror Is dead,
but the reflection of the moon on water, lives." Kenzan.

Yes it is. But by using neo as a source it pretty well guaranteed that at least part of the shop would be dealing with poetry likely written in the past 5-6 years...................stan

author comment

As I said, the poem is not diminished, it's only my enjoyment of it. Three decades of exposure has made my mind blunt to it. I still intellectually recognize the quality of the work. This is something that I was forced to read and analyze in school, that is the root of my inability to enjoy this as voraciously as I once may have, had I discovered It on my own. He clearly succeeds across the board with what he intends. It may sound strange but after school I had to wait 10 years to go back and read Wallace Stevens because they pushed him on me so much. I thought he was detached and heartless. This obviously is not true. Nothing ruins art and many other things like being forced into partaking of it.

Ron

Blue Demon77

"What I want is to be what I was before the knife,
before the brooch pin, before the salve, fixed me in this parenthesis:
Horses fluent in the wind. A place, a time gone out of mind."

The Eye Mote-Sylvia Plath

Hmm.....
kinda like being forced to explain your meaning in a workshop? lol.....Things are now clear..............stan

author comment

I think the point of overexposure and the effect it can have on a reader has been made and perfectly communicated by Geezer, Jenifer, and you. It's just overstimulation, Sometimes a poem is more effective as a whisper than blaring over a P.A. at a stadium.

Ron

Blue Demon77

"What I want is to be what I was before the knife,
before the brooch pin, before the salve, fixed me in this parenthesis:
Horses fluent in the wind. A place, a time gone out of mind."

The Eye Mote-Sylvia Plath

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