Miles to go…before I understand the appeal of poetry.

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 hate poetry.  I really do.  The only reason I read it is if CB, my grandmother who taught English for a lifetime, made me.   I never understood it.  Seems like the punctuation is all wrong, or like there is something left unsaid.  Just give me a short story and tell me what it is you are trying to say.  Or a novel.  Just not a poem.

Book Club #2 is reading poems next month.  We have to bring our favorite poem and read it or share it with the group.  I’m going to ask these ladies to explain the appeal to me.  Why would you read a poem and try your best to figure out what the author meant, when you could read a story and know what the author was trying to say.  Give me characters, plot, narration, dialog.  Give me a story.

I’ve picked my poem.  I love the last four lines, so I guess it’s my favorite.  But I don’t understand the purpose of the poem.  Can you help me?  I have miles to go before I understand…


About ckeirn

This is an account of my life’s journey – road trips, places in my heart, people and things I love.
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3 Responses to Miles to go…before I understand the appeal of poetry.

  1. AJ says:

    That’s Robert Frost! It’s so funny that you picked that one. That was my mother’s favorite poem. I love it too. I think poetry does leave gaps so the reader can fill them in. Means something different to each individual. Novels and short stories give you the entire story, you only use your imagination to picture the people or the places. With poetry you have to imagine the characters thoughts (which often end up being your own). I always wanted to be in the horse-drawn sleigh riding through the snow out in the woods in the quiet, darkness… probably because I wanted that peace instead of the rush of the “miles to go before I sleep” that’s more my reality.
    Does that make any sense at all or am I rambling again? Mental patient that I am, it’s hard to tell.


  2. Leslie Gonce says:

    oh christie! glad you are blogging!

    i actually love poetry.

    i the appeal to me is it stirs up emotions in me.

    i love the poem that you posted not because i know what it “means”, but because it gives me a mental picture and i love that.

    also, songs are basically poetry, i think. i absolutely love songs….which are basically poems set to music……again, because of the emotion it stirs up in me……

    i’m going to keep checking back to read your blog….i am sure it will continue to be very interesting!!


  3. ckeirn says:

    Three questions from a Literature textbook on this poem…
    1. What does the description of the horse tell us about the speaker?
    2. What function does the repetition in the last two lines of the poem serve?
    3. Why does the speaker refer to the owner of the woods in the opening stanza?

    Does anyone know the answers to these questions?


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