Friday, June 16, 2017

How many miles remain?

Related Poem 

I ask myself in response to the following by Robert Frost, how many miles remain before I sleep? I think I'd like to know. Would you want to know how many miles remain for you?

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.

Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright 1923, © 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc., renewed 1951, by Robert Frost. 

Source: Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays (Library of America, 1995)


  1. i love this poem... it epitomizes Frost's gift: telling not by words, but by feeling and atmosphere... wonderful...
    i try not to think about where i'm going, especially since i've been retired... it will come when it comes and that will be fine; meanwhile, i just keep on doing what seems pleasant and interesting; after all, what else is there, at our ages...
    and i guess i believe if i am relaxed about my life/death, maybe it will influence in some obscure way, someone else to feel similarly and contribute to their contentment... but no guarantees, just the planet circling a small yellow sun in the infinite vastness of the cosmos...

  2. This is one of my absolute top poems, Tim. And it's interesting that you ask how many miles. I think a lot of people feel that way (e.g. 'How much longer am I going to have deal with this?'). That's part of what I love about this poem: the idea of stopping for a bit and resting, and letting nature buoy one up.

  3. Tim,

    It is the only poem that I have memorized and still remember, and I, at odd times, and for no particular reason except that I want to, recite it.

  4. Mudpuddle, Margot, Fred, et al
    Frost is one of those poets who can make me weep and smile simultaneously. The Robert Hedrick poem I just posted affects me the same way. I guess I'm strange.

  5. Oops, forgot to say that the second link is to show you how to hot link in comments, since you sometimes leave links!