Robert Frost’s poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening always features strongly in favourite poem lists. My journey from knowing of it and vaguely knowing it, to being smitten by it, came about by courtesy of the Scottish singer-songwriter Jackie Leven. I found his beautiful setting of the poem on the album Creatures of Light and Darkness (2001), and recorded it for my own Waiting For the Word CD.
“…the poem describes the thoughts of a lone wagon driver (the speaker), pausing at night in his travel to watch snow falling in the woods. It ends with him reminding himself that, despite the loveliness of the view, “I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep.”” Wikipedia
Leven changed the first line of the second verse, swapping strange for queer. I followed suit, but with some uncertainty. I can see why he did that, but I’m still not sure about it. I’d be interested to know what you think.
There’s a good documentary about Leven here. Sadly, he died of cancer in 2011.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening 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, 1922
Video footage compiled from free sources. Thanks to all the contributors.