Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Recently I had a passing conversation about poetry with someone. Of course, it was on text. Aren't all conversations these days?

I inquired about a favorite poet and she said poems were just for weddings and funerals. I was rather shocked. Although Auden's poem from Four Weddings and a Funeral, did become rather famous, I have no intention of bowing to the trite notion that poetry is only for weddings and funerals and - heaven's forbid - Christenings.

The Dismal Swamp Canal (David Macaulay)

My notion that poetry is for everyday life may be as unfashionable as poetry itself but I stand by it. Poetry takes its rhythms from life and can enrich it. I say this even though I had little interested in getting my daughter, who is a voracious reader, to read The Stolen Child by William Butler Yeates. it's hard to convince a 10-year-old that the poets of yesteryear make the One Directions of today look like they are going the wrong way down a one way street.

During the recent snowfalls I stopped by the Dismal Swamp Canal just over the North Carolina border to take in the solitary, glittering world of the dark water as evening approached. It made by think of a poem by Robert Frost who once arrived at this forbidding wilderness to end his own life. However, something about the silent swamp made him change his mind.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

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.


  1. Lovely!
    I believe poetry is for and about everyday life, but your conversation must have been an interesting one. Haven't had one of those in a long long time!

  2. I have loved that poem forever and forever. But now I'm even sadder that language is sifting away from us at a faster pace than I maybe had realized.

    I was scolded recently for using language that goes over people's heads. wtf And, as you know, I'm not a wordsmith. I was struck speechless which is a feat in itself.


    1. I rambled off-topic a bit. But now I will be out there reading poetry during my downtime today. Thank you for that!

    2. you raise some great point Deborah - we are floating down Lol Boulevard with no paddle


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