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Robert Frost on the joy - and cost - of the journey

Robert Frost on the joy - and cost - of the journey

"And miles to go before I sleep" - Robert Frost

From his classic poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Like many, this poem was one of the first we learned in school, and I have to admit there's something magical and nostalgic about it. Frost is known for his use of down-to-earth, colloquial language to explore complex social, philosophical, and natural subjects. But even as a kid, I could sense a calling in this poem to some bigger responsibility. The narrator wasn’t simply admiring a flower or a tree. He was in awe of a landscape that was beautiful, but hard and cold. Instead of ending in pure admiration (dancing with daffodils, the forget-me-nots of the angels, a poem as lovely as a tree and all that), he ends with a calling to the narrator to do the work of living.

The final line "and miles to go before I sleep" is repeated twice. The repetition implies a double meaning, both a literal and metaphorical journey to be taken. Just like nature in spring, we have promises to keep. We have a journey to take both like nature and through nature.

This drawing is from my illustrated book Miles to Go: A Collection of Poems by Robert Frost.

About the Art

“In this illustration I wanted to capture the journey of the narrator both physically and spiritually. The intersection of the two is represented as a moon brushing the horizon line of a forest, and a lone figure takes the ultimate journey.”

Artwork created by Evan Robertson. All rights reserved.

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