Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Intro: We recorded Robert Frost’s award winning poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” deep in December, deep in the Covid lockdown of 2020. The mood is gentle and quiet, like the snowy forest described in the poem. This podcast is appropriate for anyone who loves poetry and, of course, for English as a Second Language (ESL) speakers.

Audio and music by Ian de Jong, narration and script by Brenda de Jong-Pauley.

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Frost wrote this poem in 1922 at his home in New England in the United States. He tells a simple story with simple words, and yet we are instantly there with him and his horse, on a snowy, silent night, passing by a beautiful forest.

Please listen for meaning (of course), but also for pronunciation. The rhyme scheme — the rhyme pattern — is easy and repetitive and only changes in the last stanza, where the author repeats a line. This is called a refrain, like in a song. I hope that you will read and listen and then read the poem aloud. Can you copy the patterns and pronunciation? Please try it and let us know.

Before you read the poem, repeat these words, making sure that the vowels rhyme–

Know, though, snow

Here, queer, near, year

Lake, shake, mistake, flake

Sweep, deep, keep, sleep

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (full text)

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.


Questions: What is Frost referring to in the last two lines of the last stanza? What is your “takeaway” from this poem?



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