Thursday, June 23

Robert Frost

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

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.

I especially love the last few lines which have great meaning in them ...

My English Lecturer in 11th standard once when teaching "The Garden" ( ive far since forgotten the name of a poet) compared a poem to an onion ... the comparison prima facie may look awkward and even incorrect , just the way it did to us teenagers then , he then with a straight face , faced us giggling lot ( who were sure he had lost his mind high up in the clouds where he usually was ! ) and went on to explain why he compared a poem to an onion , his words ring as clear as a bell in my mind's ears even today. He could not have found an easier or a more forceful method of telling us what poetry is all about ... An onion has layers of skin .. as you peel so you find another layer. At the end all there is nothing ... no onion without its multilayered skin , no poem without its mutilayered meaning , look beneath each poem , you will find another poem , meaning or interpretation ... when you think you have reached the core of the poem , you realise that there is no poem without its interpretation ... No interprertation said he , is ever wrong or right , it only shows the depth of the person's mental maturity.

Well, I have always been a pessimistic in life ... Ive found the hard way that when an optimist finally falls he hits the ground harder than it actually is , and when a pessimist rises , he finds the surprise in the rise more enjoyable than the actual rise ... Ive always attached tragic meanings to life , because that is what life is , moves from one tragedy to another , once it is over , you can look back and draw caricatures or even crack slimy , sleazy or pure poor jokes on it ... not when you are going through it .. pessimism actually helps you to crack worse jokes than the situation demands of , well ... there may be many contradictions and agreements , but hey , I am what I am .. and when i went through this poem ... the lines that lent the most entrappment to my attention were "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. "

The first thing that struck me was the point that it is exactly another way of putting the very words Krishna told Arjuna ( a wee bit of rambling here again ... I hate Arjuna ! ) well, atleast that part where He talks about "Karmanyevadhikaraste maa phaleshu kadachana" ... I think this is the westernised way of putting forth the same philosophy . It talks about being an adult , standing up and taking responsibility for your actions , it talks about doing what you have to do whether you like it or not , whether it is pleasant or not ... only when you have done your work , completed your tasks for the lifetime can you sleep ... will you be able to sleep peacefully .. remember those days when you have forgotten to read a certain chapter or when you have forgotten to lock the door ? you dreams are interupted , you are constantly on the verge of wakefulness, once you complete that tiny task of yours ... have you ever noticed that your sleep is much easier , deeper and more satisfying? Well, I dont know about death , well not yet .. ther is still time to meet that good friend of mine , but I do think there will definetly be such a torment of your conscience ( not you .. you will only believe what you want to , it is your conscience that needs to sleep) if you dont discharge your worldly duties ....

Well , now that I look back , I think this blog which began with just an intention of a "copy paste" of Mr Frost's poem has gone into ramblings of the most bizzare manner ........


Phani said...


Note that word "interpretation" (Which ur english lecturer has also quoted) is what influences the understanding of a poem.

I see "HOPE" in the same last three lines u were talkimg about.

And i see that u dont have fair enough understanding of being an optimistic.

I should say "U r clever enough to understand it and recognize its worth. But u dont like to go by the world and try to give stupid reasoning contradicting universal facts".

"when an optimist finally falls he hits the ground harder than it actually is "

Lemme explain what goes in the mind of an optimist. He deosn't feel the pain. Rather, he feels happy that he has got a second chance to fly higher with a greater push on his support, the ground.

To know what optimism is, u gotto be an optimist or atleast try being an optimist.

arpana said...

Thanks Phani! Great One !