Most children educated in the United States are familiar with the sweet poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. Because it is short and intellectually manageable, I use it to teach literary analysis to my younger students in middle school.
I teach in the late afternoon and early evening.
Listening to this poem as the Winter Solstice approaches on December 21-22, my students gaze out the windows at the darkening skies.
Last year, those lofty literary goals of mine took a back seat to a creative interpretation of this poem by Max.
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.
Max: I like the rhyming. I see that one line doesn’t rhyme. I see the sound of the rhyme is a long “o”.
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.
Max: The speaker is out in the forest on December 21.
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.
Max: I wonder if the harness bells mean something more. Mrs. Sabraw, they could have a double meaning, you know. Do ya think?
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.
Max: Clearly, this poem is about Santa Claus.
So much for the deep interpretation about the final repeating lines, those dark images of loneliness and death, and maybe suicide.
Ho, Ho, Ho, Max. Nice going.