Robert Frost is one of the most famous poets of all time. His poems have been read worldwide, inspiring many poets. We made a list of Robert Frost’s best poems with their brief explanation to aid the understanding.
These poems represent multiple emotional aspects of the human and the different expressive nature of Frost himself. The poems mentioned here are The Road Not Taken, Stopping by the Woods on a snowy evening, Fire and Ice, The Oven Bird, Bond and Free, and For Once, then, something. Of course, there aren’t only great poems, but certainly some of Robert Frost best poems.
The road not taken
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 To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves, no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
If there is an article named Robert Frost’s best poems and there is no mention of “The Road Not Taken”, then the article is not worth reading. Arguably Robert Frost’s most popular poem is all about the choices we make in our lives and how it affects our future. The poem leans towards the philosophical side and it will make you sit and think.
The poem is also about people’s tendency to waste time thinking too much about choices. The narrator says that he stood near the diversion, analyzing the road carefully, trying to think which one to take. But while choosing it, Frost reveals an important lesson about life.
He says that he kept the other read for another day, but he also knew deep inside that he wasn’t going to come back. It was like time, once happened, it wasn’t going to happen. So what did he say he kept the other road for another day. To trick the mind. The feeble mind cannot decide and if you keep trying to think which one’s better, you’ll never be able to make a choice. So fool the mind and make the choice. And live with the consequences.
Did you know that this poem was the probable cause of a person’s death? You can read about it and a detailed analysis of the poem with a summary, meter, rhyming scheme, and hidden meaning here.
Stopping by the 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.
Another great poem worthy of being on the list of Robert Frost’s best poems. A short and simple poem that has a way more complex meaning than it seems at first. The poem reveals a lot about human psychology and the narrator’s dilemma.
The narrator seeks solitude. Where people think of cold and dark places as desolate and unhappy places, he sees them as a place of comfort. There is no one to accompany him other than his horse and even to the horse, the woods look like a dangerous place.
The dark meaning of this poem is the poet contemplating suicide after getting tired of the duties and responsibilities of life. But no matter how much the idea of being in a cold and dark place tempts him, he says that he has to keep promises and lots of things to do before he “sleeps”.
You can read the detailed analysis of the poem with line-by-line meaning here.
Fire and Ice
Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.
Considered by many to be a very dark poem, this is the one that inspired George RR Martin to write the fantasy novel series “A Song of Ice and Fire”. Read how the poem matches the plot of A Game of Thrones in the complete analysis of the poem. This poem is a man talking about the destruction of the world and which way of destruction he’d prefer.
This comes from a man who has tasted both the fire of desire and the coldness of hate. And both of these emotions influence the type of destruction he’d want to see. The desire is like fire, consuming people like fire, burning in the madness. Hate is the ice-coldness that makes them unmoving, and uncaring.
So people who have tasted desire would love to see the world burn in the fire. But people who have tasted the cold of hate would not mind if the destruction came again. This is because of their uncaring nature.
Another example of how Robert Frost can write just 8 small sentences and pack so much meaning and power in it. The poem is short and powerful, delivering an impact to the readers. And hence it found a spot in the list of best Robert Frost poems.
The Oven Bird
There is a singer everyone has heard, Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird, Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again. He says that leaves are old and that for flowers Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten. He says the early petal-fall is past When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers On sunny days a moment overcast; And comes that other fall we name the fall. He says the highway dust is over all. The bird would cease and be as other birds But that he knows in singing not to sing. The question that he frames in all but words Is what to make of a diminished thing.
The poem is about the passing of seasons and the welcoming of the new season. The poem describes a bird and its jovial song in appreciation of the new season. But there’s more to it. The different seasons here also represent different phases of life. Fall represents old age while winter represents death. An interesting and beautiful poem.
Bond and free
Love has earth to which she clings With hills and circling arms about— Wall within wall to shut fear out. But Thought has need of no such things, For Thought has a pair of dauntless wings. On snow and sand and turf, I see Where Love has left a printed trace With straining in the world’s embrace. And such is Love and glad to be. But Thought has shaken his ankles free. Thought cleaves the interstellar gloom And sits in Sirius’ disc all night, Till day makes him retrace his flight, With smell of burning on every plume, Back past the sun to an earthly room. His gains in heaven are what they are. Yet some say Love by being thrall And simply staying possesses all In several beauty that Thought fares far To find fused in another star.
A poem about the power of thoughts vs love and what both of these give to people. Frost says that love is a powerful thing that can take you to beautiful places on earth. But this is also the drawback of love; it clings to the earth, shackling you to it.
The thought gives you wings and freedom. It can take you to the moon, and the stars, and let you explore the universe. It splits the interstellar gloom. This line means that it removes the distance between two stars, it brings us closer to the brothers and sisters of the sun. Sirius here refers to the Sirius star, also called the Dog Star. But love does not give this freedom. It keeps you bound to earth.
In the last stanza, Frost takes a different turn. While he praises the freedom of thought, he also mentions love’s hold and the ability to keep us grounded in what makes it desirable to many. While the stars and the skies may be amusing, love is being with the snowy mountains and the meandering rivers, being in the place called home.
For once, then, something
Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs Always wrong to the light, so never seeing Deeper down in the well than where the water Gives me back in a shining surface picture Me myself in the summer heaven godlike Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs. Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb, I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture, Through the picture, a something white, uncertain, Something more of the depths—and then I lost it. Water came to rebuke the too clear water. One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom, Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness? Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.
This is a beautifully philosophical poem by Robert Frost that deserves to be on the list of best Robert Frost poems. This poem is all about introspection and trying to see oneself in the mirror. Frost says that once, looking down at the mirror, he saw something, something that almost changed his mind. Almost.
The poem describes the experience of a man who has been jeered by many for being too self-centered, to be someone clouded by his own beliefs. But one day, as he admires himself by looking at the reflection of him in the watery mirror, he sees something.
He saw something pure, something white beyond his reflection, something deeper than usual. But soon it was gone. The line “Water came to rebuke the too clear water” means a lot here. This says that once he tried looking into himself, his ego and beliefs changes it, “hazing” the water.
In the end, he says “for once, then, something”. This means that for once he was led to believe something else, that he is more than what he thinks, but then it all changes. The blur of the water made the nature of the whiteness uncertain. Was it true or just a misconception? No one would ever know. But we do know that it is one of Robert Frost’s best poems.