Monday, 6 June 2016

Poetry is honey for the soul (10) - Alison Hope


        Poetry is honey for the soul

Ali is a well-known blogger, "specialised" in book reviews. She has her own blog and writes daily about a new book (better than I do and makes me feel lazy...). Here is the address:

for the few of you who would not know her yet. She is connected with books: buying books, lending books, reading groups, reviewing books, participating in book groups, in book events, creating them sometimes. I cannot imagine her without a book near at hand! Which is certainly exaggerated as she loves flowers and many other things.
When I asked her if she wanted to contribute, she asked for some days of thought, then sent me the following poem, comment and illustrations. I was surprised to see "Stopping by woods on a snowy evening" by Robert Frost that Phillip had already chosen. For the foreigner that I am it seems one of these poems that haunt you all your life long - and I begin to fall under its spell myself.

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 sounds 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.

There were lots of poems I could (nearly did) choose for this, many deeper, seemingly more complex pieces than this. Yet I kept coming back to this poem, one I first heard probably as a child. I love the deceptive simplicity of the poem, yet the images it evokes remain, and tell a story – albeit a simple one. The reader is left wondering about where the traveller might be going – what are those promises – and to whom were they made?

The poem reminds me -always of my dad – he died eight years ago. I can remember him quoting – on several occasions, though what those occasions were I can’t recall – that final haunting stanza – so it is a poem I always associate with him. 


  1. thank you. hope things are a bit easier
    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.
    says it all really

    1. Thank you for your wishes. Administrative or bureaucratic problems take a long time to be solved but I have taken a first step. My fear is that they have an impact on The Girls; but they seemed better yesterday. It is hard work, "miles to go before I sleep".
      The poem is my guest's choice as well as the illustrations: she made the post really. I only had to put it on the page (or the screen)... I shall convey your thanks.