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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening was written by Robert Frost in 1922. It was first published in the collection ‘New Hampshire’.
Like other poems of Frost, this poem can also be read as a plain story of a tired traveler looking at the beauty of Nature but then reminding himself of something for which he needs to leave the scene.
But the poem isn’t that simple, it allows multiple interpretations. Like a poem, in Frost’s own words, it is the “best bid for remembrance.”
The poem has 16 lines which are divided into 4 stanzas. It follows the iambic tetrameter and its rhyming scheme is AABA BBCB CCDC DDDD.
The narrator is traveling through woods and wondering who owns these. He knows the person and his house isn’t anywhere nearby but in a village.
He is deciding to stop there for a while because he is struck by the beauty of falling snow and the way it is filling up the woods. Its owner lives somewhere else so he can not see the narrator stopping in his woods.
He is now contemplating what his horse might be thinking. It must be weird for the little horse that its owner is standing in the middle of woods because they must be always stopping in some farmhouse.
It is winter so the time is the darkest evening of the year. They have stopped in the wilderness which is between the woods and frozen lake.
Now we know why the narrator thought of his horse because the horse has now shaken its harness bell. It must be thinking whether it is some mistake. The bell is the only sound in such a stillness apart from the sound of easy wind and softly falling snowflakes.
The narrator is commenting upon the beauty which he is witnessing. He is almost refreshing himself in Nature but the world to which a human belongs beckons him again.
He is reminded of those promises which he has made. He must take leave from this beauty of Nature and the epiphanic pleasure which comes from it. It becomes a universal statement about human life which can not halt for beauty alone; living comes with responsibilities.