Description: 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.
Like most of Frost's poems, 'Stopping By Woods' can be read on several levels. And, again like most of his poems, you can ignore them all, and still enjoy the surface meaning, which is beautifully evocative. Just below the surface there is the sleep/death metaphor, and the undercurrent of gentle longing for death tinges the surface with a melancholy that reinforces and plays off the night and winter images.
Formwise, note the predominance of soft, sibilant sounds, evoking the 'sweep of easy wind and downy flake'. Note also the lovely rhyme scheme and the repetition of the final line, which provides closure on
several different levels.