Promises to keep

I had promises to keep

but instead regarded Robert Frost,

who stopped his horse to watch the woods

fill up with snow.

I paused, too,

from time to time

while those around me

grew impatient

waiting for me to go again.

Harness bells jingled in my brain

reminding me that time was not my own.

I had promises to keep.

I kept as many as I could,

failed at some

but rarely stopped to watch the snow.

I stop more often now

as my journey shortens with age.

I make no promises

to anyone but me.

And I have promises to keep.

Source: Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost. Copyright 1923, © 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc., renewed 1951, by Robert Frost.

One thought on “Promises to keep

  1. Lovely poem. I like how the last line echoes the first line. The ending is open and the switch from past tense to present moves the reader in time towards the future. The middle line – I had promises to keep is a surprising turning point as we have already heard that line at the beginning and yet the repeat sets us up for the shift in the poem. Perhaps you will consider this poem for the anthology?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.