Sunday 12 June 2016

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

        Poetry is honey for the soul

Ali stood at an uncomfortable place last week: 
her poem was published on this blog just before my appeal to help for The Little Family. 
This was awkward and she might not have received the whole attention she deserved. 
Therefore, I post it again.

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. I love Robert Frost and this one in particularr. I hadn't heard this in a long time. Nice to revisit it.

  2. I love Robert Frost and this one in particularr. I hadn't heard this in a long time. Nice to revisit it.

    1. As a foreigner, I know Robert Frost from afar. But this poem is growing on me. It is deceptively simple. I love the last stanza which seems to mean more than at first sight. Alison made a beautiful choice.