Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Day 145: Miles to Go Before I Sleep

Here's an example of a poem that is written simply, but has layers of meaning to it. In the space of four short stanzas, it conveys the deep burden of responsibilities and commitments we carry and the struggle to lay them down or keep going.

It would be so easy to slip into sleep, to lie down, to give up on 'the darkest evening of the year', as the traveller in the poem contemplates, after a long journey, to stop, to rest, let the snow make him forget, be tranquilized into a numb immobile state -  'the woods are lovely, dark and deep.' (And just look at how the language creates this drowsy feeling: 'the only other sound's the sweep/ of easy wind and downy flake.')

But he has 'promises to keep' and resolves to go on. As we must keep going, keep on. For there are 'miles to go' before we sleep. 

(It's interesting to note that this poem was a favourite of President John F Kennedy.)

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - 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. 


  1. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. See the link below for more info.


  2. Everything you an imagine is real. Have a good day! Keep on sharing knowledgable ideas :)

  3. A brand-new viewer to this site am I, and seeing your comments on Sandberg's lovely poem, I have become an instant addict who will return for more, and more. And more.

  4. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
    Some of the greatest poetry we encounter in life... isn't.
    Live is best when it's poetic.

  5. Better still...
    “When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.”


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