Desert Places Poem by Robert Frost Summary, Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English


“Desert Places” is a poem written by Robert Frost. It revolves around a snowed field and the persona’s feelings of solidarity upon the same.

About the Poet:

Robert Frost (1874-1963) was an eminent American poet. He was the recipient of many awards, including receiving the Pulitzer Prize four times. Famous works of his include ‘The Road Not Taken’, ‘Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening’, and ‘Fire and Ice’.


This poem is divided into 4 stanzas consisting of 4 lines each. Each stanza follows the rhyme scheme ‘aaba’. 

Explanation of the Stanzas:

Stanza 1:

Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast

In a field I looked into going past,

And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,

But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

The poem begins with the persona looking upon a snowy field as he was “going past” it. They state that it was “covered smooth in snow” save for “a few weeds and stubble” waywardly growing there. 

Stanza 2:

The woods around it have it - it is theirs.

All animals are smothered in their lairs.

I am too absent-spirited to count;

The loneliness includes me unawares.

This stanza reveals how the snow was everywhere, making the surroundings as a whole “theirs”. The animals seem to have been “smothered” by the snow, so much so that the persona lost count. The picture of “loneliness” makes the persona realise his own loneliness as well.

Stanza 3:

And lonely as it is, that loneliness

Will be more lonely ere it will be less -

A blanker whiteness of benighted snow

With no expression, nothing to express.

The loneliness in the field seems to be more pronounced in “A blanker whiteness of benighted snow”, devoid of “expression” – of colour, life, anything. 

Stanza 4:

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces

Between stars - on stars where no human race is.

I have it in me so much nearer home

To scare myself with my own desert places.

In the final stanza, the persona reveals that the loneliness of the snowstorm does not “scare” him with their “empty spaces” devoid of humans or any life. Rather, he himself has enough “desert places” within himself that he won’t be terrified of these “empty spaces”. 


This is a rather depressing poem. The poem starkly brings out how loneliness can affect a person’s mental health through the persona, whose mind is filled with “desert places”.