Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Miles to Go Before I Sleep

If you'd never been to New England before and wanted to get a sense of it, Robert Frost's poetry wouldn't be a bad place to start. It's a certain New England, of course, not all-encompassing, but I do connect him thoroughly with this region of the world. That's not why I picked this poem to share, however. It's because the final words--miles to go before I sleep--very often run through my head in the evening. As much as I try to keep the evenings for myself, it doesn't always work out that way. The other night, after two of three children were in bed, I sat on the couch for a moment and thought, I have miles to go before I sleep. Laundry, lunches for tomorrow, patches to sew on knees, the final wake-up call for my daughter so she gets through the night dry... and it's even worse when my husband is traveling. And this is the poem that gives us this phrase.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by 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.

3 comments:

iamrushmore said...

next time I'm having one of THOSE evenings I'm going to try and conjure up Frost's quiet sense of wonder. Stopping by the dishwasher on a Wednesday evening perhaps? I'm sure I can find some poetry in there somewhere to get me through.
and (because you've come to expect long rambling tangents from me?) I was wondering if you've ever read "love that dog" with your kids? I think I read it with my son when he was in third grade. as a poetry lover I think you'll love it. the boy in the book thinks his poetry assignments are stupid (he comes around by the end) and not liking school assignments is something my son could relate to, so he was hooked at the beginning. it's a sweet and lovely book.

Bells said...

there's really a sense there of feeling like it's about putting one foot in front of the other to just get there. Some evenings are just like that. Some days are like that, too.

Donna Lee said...

This is one of my favorite poems. I connect Frost with New England, too. I think partly it's the way he uses language. He's not flowery but says what he means and uses words effectively.

And miles to go before I sleep seems to be my anthemn some days!