One Mule Sleigh

Read the Poem:

By Robert Frost

Special Treat!! Some comments about this poem, by Robert Frost himself!

"As I remember it, 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' was written in just about that way, after I had been working all night long on 'New Hampshire.' But I must admit, it was written in a few minutes without any strain. Critics think I had that sort of all-night struggle before I could write the little poem I'm talking about. They must have heard me say, sometime or other, years back, that I wrote all night, in connection with 'Stopping by Woods.' But the thing I worked on all night had no struggle in it at all. It's in print, called 'New Hampshire.'. . .Then, having finished 'New Hampshire,' I went outdoors, got out sideways and didn't disturb anybody in the house, and about nine or ten o'clock went back in and wrote the piece about the snowy evening and the little horse as if I'd had an hallucination--little hallucination--the one critics write about occasionally. You can't trust these fellows who write what made a poet write what he wrote. We all of us read our pet theories into a poem."

[Mertins, M.L.: Robert Frost: Life and Talks-Walking.]

And now here are MY OWN comments:

     The reason I put the previous comments of Frost's on this page was to illustrate to students (and to teachers) that even FROST didn't take himself too seriously. He even chides his critics. THAT is what he was saying there, especially in his last two sentences.
     The following is the mental picture I get every time I read this poem: The reason it is so VIVID in my mind is because I have done what the narrator of the poem has done- "Been there; done that!" Oh, the details are a little different; I don't have a horse or a sleigh. I'm on foot, and it doesn't necessarily have to be dark out. If you've never done it, you might not know how much the snow can "insulate" you from the sounds of the rest of the world. Picture a snowfall: the kind with the really BIG flakes, LOTS of them, and no wind. If you can just get into the woods a few hundred feet away from the nearest road, the sheer volume of fluffy snow will completely block out the hustle and bustle that we are used to hearing in the background of our everyday lives. You WILL actually hear the snowflakes falling as they hit the branches, the pine needles and any remaining leaves!! If there is a bit of wind, there will be a rustle or a "sweep". These are the ONLY sounds you will hear, except perhaps for the sound of your footsteps and your OWN heartbeat!! I go out there in the snow on PURPOSE every year just to experience it AGAIN!
     "The woods are lovely, dark, and deep..." Under these conditions (especially when there is no wind to chill me) it is easy for me to pause for quite some time, and reflect, and forget all of my troubles until........ (Here it COMES: the message you have been searching for!) I suddenly wake up from this reverie and, like the narrator of the poem in the final verse, I realize that I can't "dilly dally" here all day; "I got stuff to DO!!"

OH.... and here's one more point of view.......

Hi and Lois Cartoon

Okay, NOW read the Poem

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