Famous Poems by Robert Frost

Everyone knows famous poems by Robert Frost, or lines from them, even if they don't know that Frost wrote them. Robert Frost was a prolific poet who wrote many respected poems between 1900 and 1960. You can find several popular collections of his works. If you've ever heard some lines from "The Road Less Taken," you've heard Robert Frost. 

Respected in His Lifetime
One of the most amazing things about Frost is the fact that he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry four times. The following are the four collections of published poems written by Frost that have been honored with a Pulitzer Prize:

  • New Hampshire, published in 1923
  • Collected Poems, published in 1931 and expanded and re-released in 1939
  • A Further Range, published in 1937
  • A Witness Tree, published in 1943

One of Frost's most-quoted poems describes a peaceful winter night, full of contemplation. "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" begins like this:

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.

The poem goes on to describe how the author's horse would think it unusual that he has stopped, but the reader understands how sometimes we must take time out from our busy lives to enjoy the beauty of nature and drink the nourishing mead of solitude. The poem is full of longing; we are sad to know that eventually the author must pick up the reins, leave the serenity of this perfect winter scene and carry on with the mundane demands of life.

Themes of Nature
Another of Frost's most famous poems, "Nothing Gold Can Stay," is credited with helping him win the Pulitzer Prize for the New Hampshire collection. This poem is quoted in S.E. Hinton's book, The Outsiders. This poem begins with a description of "nature's first green", calling this color "gold" and asserting this color is the most difficult of colors to keep. The poem is one that stirs feelings of mourning the passing of youth and the bright, golden innocence that characterizes us before we are jaded by life's harsh realities. After describing the changes a leaf undergoes, the poem ends with these famous lines:  

So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

One more oft-quoted poem, "The Road Not Taken," describes the profound mystery of the crossroads each of us experiences in our lives. What would have happened if you left for work 10 minutes earlier than you did? What if you waited an extra half hour? How do the seemingly insignificant choices in our lives affect our destinies? The poem begins by describing the choice before the traveler:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could…

Many of Frost's poems are steeped in images of the rural New Hampshire where he lived, but Frost's themes are decidedly modern. Looking at the changing world around him, Frost found comfort in the constancy of nature's rhythm, reminding us that as much as the world may change, the basic elements of life are always the same.

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