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Although Robert Frost has written many great poems, I think one of his best is “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The poem depicts a man on his way home who stops by a snow covered forest. The man’s horse is curious as to why the man would stop and shakes its bells “to see if there is some mistake.” However there is no mistake. The man has just stopped to enjoy the beauty of the woods, and while he would like to stay, he must travel still in order to keep promises that he has made. Even though “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is a very beautiful poem, I think that its deep and significant meaning is its most notable feature.

The poem flows very well both from one stanza to another and from one line to another. The meter used by Frost was a fairly simple one (AABA BBCB CCDC DDDD). However, it makes the poem all seem connected and allows the reader to drift from one line to the next. Lines 11 and 1 seem to flow much like the snow would, as it cascades down through the branches of the trees, finally reaching the forest floor.

Using only words, Frost builds a beautiful picture of a snow covered forest. He gives the location as, “Between the woods and frozen lake,” allowing the reader to build a more detailed and true to life picture of the scenery around the man. He tells about how “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,” and also about the horse, and how it reacts to the man stopping. By the end of the poem the reader could almost imagine being in the forest, sitting next to the man.

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” has many meanings. Perhaps the poem is about the beauty of nature, and how even on “The darkest evening of the year” a person can be drawn to her awe inspiring beauty. However even that line could have more than one meaning. The first thought is that it is the darkest, coldest part of winter, but the line could also be talking about depression. Perhaps this is the most depressing evening of the man’s life, and seeing the snow, and stopping to enjoy it, makes it all better.

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Another meaning of the poem could be that a hectic lifestyle does not allow for time to “smell the roses”. Although the man would like to stay in the forest for a while, he has promises to keep, and many miles to go before he sleeps. Perhaps the poem even suggests that time spent enjoying nature is time that will have to be made up for in the end, or that it is less important than promises that are made. Frost used repetition in the last two lines (and miles to go before I sleep) to emphasize the importance of this promise that he has made.

The theme of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” may even be the temptation of death, even suicide, symbolized by the woods that are filling up with snow, on the darkest evening of the year. The man is strongly drawn to these woods and wants to lie down and let the snow cover him. The third stanza, with its lethargic, dream-like line, Of easy wind and downy flake, opposes the horses instinctive urge for home with the mans subconscious desire for death in the dark, snowy woods. The speaker says, The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but he resists their morbid attraction.

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is one Robert Frost’s greatest work. Within this one poem he has not only told a beautiful story, but he has conveyed many meanings, each of which can be rightfully supported. The poem has a great rhythm that links every line and every stanza together, but it also holds much more.

For every person that reads it, this poem can mean something else. For some, the poem could be about the importance of taking time so stop and enjoy the beauty that surrounds them, despite having “promises to keep”. To others, the poem could show the motivation to persevere that can be obtained by the beauty of the nature that we live in. The poem may be about the fact that, even on “The darkest evening of the year” nature can still be stunningly attractive. Last but not least, the poem may be about the temptation of a perfect, graceful death. Although the beautiful imagery is what allows the many meaning of this poem to be expressed, it is those meanings that are the most important part of this poem.

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