I get heckled sometimes for my absolute and unflinching love of the poetry of Robert Frost. I won’t be ashamed of frequently wanting to trade the abstraction and pretense I read in a lot of modern poetry for the “simple” meter and rhyme of an earlier time. (Don’t let “simple” fool you, however, because creating this form usually sacrifices beauty and simplicity for forced rhyme. It’s not easy, and Frost was a master.)
There is a story in my family that Robert Frost came to Indiana, Pennsylvania sometime in the 30s while my grandfather was attending Indiana Teacher’s College (or Normal School or whatever the heck name it had then) and since Grandpa was the head of the Leonard Literary Society, he took Frost on a tour of Indiana County.
I’ve never gone to the archives at IUP or contacted the Frost association to find out if the family story is true. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. I don’t know that I care, because it’s the story itself that leaves the lasting impression.
Anyway, my favorite Frost poem is “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” I say this aloud to myself usually at least once each year in the dead silence of a cold winter snap. I try to imagine being bundled up in a horse-drawn sleigh, gliding across the frozen northeast, hearing only the horse’s bells, and “the sweep of easy wind and downy flake.”
So I’m sharing my favorite Frost poem (from Poets.org) with you today, in honor of our wintry northeast and the incoming storm.
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.
And if you’re like me and love to hear it recited by the author, here’s a video. I love hearing Frost read it because you know the intended pacing I would have preferred just a combination of audio and wintry scenes, but all the ones I found like that were not using his voice but someone else. So here you have Robert Frost himself. I recommend closing your eyes for better impact. Garrison Keillor narrates.
Are you a Robert Frost fan? I’d love to know your favorite.
Okay, well enjoy and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Gotta go. Promises to keep and all that…
P.S. Speaking of promises, I think the new trainer cutting back to 45 minutes of cardio on weight training day has already made a difference (either that or it was the forced day of rest the day before). I had so much energy yesterday afternoon after my hour of weight training and 45 minutes of cardio. This morning I’m on a full hour of treadmill. Yippee!!