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.
Frost’s most anthologized and beloved poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is deceptively simple thanks to the monosyllabic introduction and elemental nature of the prose. Throughout the poem Frost develops tension between society (the village) and nature (the woods), one representing social commitments and public expectations, the other tranquility and private will.
For the narrator of the poem, there’s a mystical allure to the woods that interrupts his journey and seduces him into a state of contemplation. “The woods are lovely, dark and deep” is that final indulgence in the lucid dreamlike state before he capitulates to his promises and social obligations.