An old favorite
The Writer's Almanac today notes the anniversary of Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." It's a great story; Frost apparently wanted to publish it with forty pages (!) of footnotes. Maybe he was having a little T.S. Eliot "The Wasteland" envy.
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's 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's 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.
I remember the last few lines of this poem being a key-phrase to activate Soviet sleeper agents in some old Charles Bronson movie. I remember thinking, "Why in the hell would the Soviets choose Robert Frost?"
The last few lines in particular I have always to found to be particularly hypnotic. I find myself repeating them when I am out walking in the winter. At any rate, Frost apparently was most fond of the first two lines, which he said contained everything he ever knew about writing.