Sunday, June 14, 2015

Miles to go

“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.”

This particular stanza has always been my favourite from the poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. First published in 1923, the story goes that Frost wrote it in a few minutes after he took a sunrise walk. Because of it, well, I am a great lover of poetry. 

I first heard this poem when I was studying in the primary school. My English teacher read out the poem, and I liked it instantly.

Ah, I still remember sitting quietly on a darkened window of my house and reciting the entire poem oblivious of noise outside. These lines used to sumptuously transport me to another realm. I used to feel dreamy, magical, and mysterious.

So did I fantasize that magic was found everywhere - in the dark woods, in every lake, behind the closed doors, under the grasses, and high up in the mountains. 

Such is that this literary composition had on me!

Later, in the 10th grade, I could get to study the poem as in the English literature textbook. And I have loved it even more. 

In several occasions, in front of young people and to my friends, I read and quoted this poem - particularly these lines - to inspire and to be inspired.   

Today, as an adult, I see these lines much differently. It is about duty, promises and commitments, sacrifices, and positivity. The journey ahead too. As I recite the poem now again, yes, it rings loud, all clear.
I turned 31 this year. It means that I have hit a biggest crossroad of my life and now just heading into a new direction. Just completed my first five years of service, and just started a fresh life of marriage.

In the recent time, I have thought a lot about “miles to go”, how I would spend the years ahead of me. But the universal truth is that this world is always “lovely, dark and deep”, filled with pleasures, pain, uncertainties and distractions - tugging at us all time.

It reminds me that “I have promises to keep” to make myself happy and fulfill the commitments towards my wife, parents, siblings and friends before I actually “sleep”, die. 
In fact, I am doing it all already. I have narrowed down my social activities so as to spend more time with my beloved ones. For, sacrifices are to be made for one’s own loved ones.

Now I have this poem hanging on my office wall. I read it when I am engrossed in the busyness of my daily life. 

Each time I go through it there, I think of making the best use of “miles to go” – duty yet to be done, commitments still to be undertaken, goals yet to achieve, and promises to be fulfilled.

I have so much to do before I eventually breathe my last. As I would fulfill it all, so I called it truly a life well lived. Oh, I have miles to before I sleep! 

Miles to go!


  1. It's a very nice reflection and analysis of the poem This has been one of my most favorite poems too. Yes, what you are saying is absolutely true: we all have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep. I loved it and you have brought back my past school days. Thanks for this wonderful post. It makes a lot of sense. I hope you would start writing poems yourself someday.

  2. Thank you Amrith Sir for your comment. And I am happy to know that it brought back your school days memories. As you have encouraged here, I will try to write poems. Thank you once again and have a lovely day!

  3. Good luck in life miles with happiness, but one step at a time.Great writing cheerssss.

    1. As always, you have dropped here beautiful words. Thank you Samten Sir!

  4. good one brother. i liked how you related that poem with your life's different stages. and another thing, i was about to question your lack of blogging like you did to me but you saved yourself by the skin of your teeth.

    1. Gyembo, your words really make a difference in my life. Thank you for the comment and a good day in Pemagathsel!

  5. I have miles to go before I sleep too :)

    Thanks for enlightening me on this stanza of the poem. I would have never got that far to understand the poem. Amazing!!!

    Good to be back :)