January 2. Heavy sigh. The world is restarting its routines, evidenced by thrice the number of cars in the Metra commuter lot this morning.
Once on board the train I opened the news and skipped over the story about Trump calling Pelosi’s plan a non-starter, that’s not news, that’s common knowledge. I opened a story with a picture that includes a familiar looking man.
I read the article and revisited the beloved and long ago memorized poem, Robert Frost’s, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
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.
The poem’s release from copyright protection law means Frost’s words are to be shared with everyone, and as the Washington Post points out, that means everyone from FedEx to Downy fabric softener. Frost’s words are fair game.
I don’t recall if I was in 5th or 6th grade when I first read Frost’s work. I do remember memorizing this poem and others, I remember later taking pen to ink and writing out Fire and Ice in Old English calligraphy on parchment paper, and I remember buying a book of his work in the late 80s, while I was in high school or right after I started college, which I still have.
Few artists have had the steadfast presence in my life as Frost. The thought that his work and words, some previously released, will be read, taught, consumed, and possibly commercially exploited is fine with me. Words like his, structured together like the perfect floral arrangement so that every angle can be appreciated, make people pause. In my case, they always make me reflect and smile. And I did once again this morning when my mouth mirrored what eyes read: “And miles to go before I sleep”. I was grateful to start the day with such a fond memory, though as my yawns signaled to the world I wished my four day break was extended just one more day.