Tuesday, March 7, 2017

"And Miles to Go Before I Sleep"

For my Dad on this publication day in 1923.  Whenever I read it, I'm suddenly a little girl again looking over his shoulder at the words on the page and hearing his deep voice break a little as he quoted the last lines.   

Frost called it his "best bid for remembrance".  The morning he wrote it, he'd been up all night working on a separate poem entirely, something he'd never done before.  It wasn't until the dawn hours when he was outside watching a June sunrise that he was hit with such a massive idea that he ran back inside to compose "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" without lifting his pen from the page.   

He claimed it had been like a hallucination.

I think it was something else.

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"

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