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    W. Trousdale's last comments on poems and poets

    • POEM: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (10/24/2010 1:29:00 AM)

      To me, this poem is about observing the beauty around you while fulfilling your obligations.

      I invision a country doctor making visits to his patients.

      His horse, obviously well versed in his course, expresses his expectation to proceed to the home of the rider's next patient. The horse is referenced twice. The horse goes from point A to point B, without stopping and would find it queer (odd) to stop along the way. The horse also asks if there is a mistake by shaking his head to get the attention of the rider.

      In astronomical terms, 'The darkest evening of the year, ' would be the winter equinox if in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the day (December 20 - December 23, depending on the year) when the evening is the longest of the year, thus, the 'darkest evening of the year.' This is a time of year when most people would be at home with family. Instead, he is striking out to satisfy 'promises' to people relying on him.

      Robert Frost references the rider's promises to keep. A country doctor takes those promises seriously. He feels the weight of his journey by repeating the phrase, 'And miles to go before I sleep.' The weight of those promises is compounded by the repetition. Even though he feels the significant responsibility of the tasks ahead of him, he takes the time to ponder the beauty and magnitude of his surroundings.

      My interpretation is that we need to 'stop and smell the roses' in our journey through life.