Is there more than whimsy in Robert Frost's “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening”? Is there a comment here on the soul's exile from nature, its emersion and collusion in civilisation, in contracts with neighbours and even with tamed beasts that use bells to speak? Perhaps. But scraping off the snow to look for social commentary rather wrecks the effect. I think instead Frost wanted us to read a poem about somebody stopping by woods on a snowy evening. To feel the chilly breath, the softness of falling snow, the dark, deep loveliness of evening woods that half tempt him to forego sleep and venture further in. It's a delicious moment, but one he cannot keep except in 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.