The poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, a well-known American poet, was published in 1923 in the book New Hampshire.
The following is my paraphrase:
Whose are these woods?
I think they belong to a man in the village,
But he won’t see me stop here to watch
The snow fall in the woods.
The horse that I am with must be thinking
It is odd to stop where there is no stable.
I stopped in-between the woods and the frozen lake,
On the night with no moon.
The horse shakes the bells,
As if he were to ask if I had made a mistake.
There is no other sound in the woods
Except the eerie whistle of the wind.
The woods are beautiful and dark,
But I have a commitment to keep,
And I have to travel a long time,
A long way before I have time to rest.
In the poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” the speaker stops by some woods on a snowy evening and absorbs the lovely scene. The speaker is tempted to stay longer, but acknowledges that he has obligations and a considerable distance to travel before he can rest for the night. The speaker talks with a tone of satisfaction, but at the end of the poem shows a tone of fatigue or tedium. The mood of poem, devotion, appears in lines fourteen and fifteen.
The poem offers a great deal of imagery, such as dark, deep woods in line thirteen that are being filled with large amounts of snow pouring from the sky in line four, and house in a small village, again the snow coming down, except this time on the roof the house, in line three. Also, a frozen lake, let it be big or small, with the sky darkening fast, in lines seven and eight. In the third stanza, a horse is shown shaking the bells on his reigns, as if to call the attention of the speaker, to inform him that he must have made a mistake.
The poem consists of four almost identically constructed quatrains. Each line has iambic tetrameter. Within the four lines of each stanza, the first, second, and fourth lines rhyme. The third line does not, but it sets up the rhymes for the next stanza. The rhyme scheme is as follows: a,a,b,a;b,b,c,b. For example, in the second stanza, lines five through eight, queer, near, and year all rhyme, but lake rhymes with shake, mistake, and flake in the following stanza. The only exception is the last stanza in which the third line rhymes with the previous two lines and is repeated as the fourth line, therefore the rhyme scheme: d,d,d,d.
This poem speaks of wanting to enjoy the pleasures of life, such as watching woods fill up with snow, but then it concludes with the speaker acknowledging that he has work to do, and one can assume that he proceeds on to do it. The poem seems to be stating that it is all right to enjoy the special moments in life, but if one makes a promise, he should not compromise it with the things he enjoys, even if the activities seem better than working.