ABOUT THE POET
Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963) was an American poet born in San Francisco. His father William Prescott Frost Jr. died of tuberculosis when Frost was only eleven years old. He attended Lawrence High School and proved to be a brilliant student. He obtained his postgraduate and doctoral degrees from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, respectively. His best poems are 'Mending the Wall: After Apple Picking, 'Birches, 'Fire and Ice, 'The Road Not Taken' and 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening He received four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry, and he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960.
OVERVIEW OF THE POEM
In this poem 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' Robert Frost presents life as a journey and human beings as travelers. At a surface level, the poem describes the journey of the poet along a road in the woods. He is tempted to stay on there and admire the serene beauty of the woods, but his mind warns him that he has to reach his destination before sleep and that it is already dark. A deeper study of the poem reveals the conflict that every individual faces in his/her life. It reminds one of all the duties to be fulfilled before one passes away. The last four lines of this poem were particularly admired and quoted by our first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
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.
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.
a forest, a thick growth of trees
a forest; a thick growth of trees strange; odd, weird
Stored at a very cold temperature
A piece of strap for fastening on a horse
covered with feather, soft, silky
a thin piece of mass
Let me but live my life from year to year,
With forward face and reluctant soul;
Not hurrying to, nor turning from, the goal;
Not mourning for the things that disappear
In the dim past, nor holding back in fear
From what the future veils; but with a
whole And happy heart, that pays its toll
To Youth and Age, and travels on with cheer.
So let the way wind up the hill or down,
O'er rough or smooth, the journey will be joy:
Still seeking what I sought when but a boy,
New friendship, high adventure, and a crown,
My heart will keep the courage of the quest,
And hope the road's last turn will be the best.
Henry Van Dyke
A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not in the branch but in her own wings. Always believe in yourself.