Poetry Sunday: An Old Man's Winter Night by Robert Frost

Winter is winding down, both the season and the winter of our lives. Robert Frost understood such times. 

He knew, for example, about entering a room and not being able to remember why you came there and he expressed it well in this poem: "What kept him from remembering what it was that brought him to that creaking room was age." Yes. That. 

Well, there's not much we can do about age. It is inexorable, so it's best to simply accept it and move on, keep on "filling the house" and our lives as best we can. 

An Old Man's Winter Night

by Robert Frost

All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him—at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off;—and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon,—such as she was,
So late-arising,—to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man—one man—can’t fill a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It's thus he does it of a winter night.


  1. What a delight the poetry of Robert Frost is, timeless, and true. Dotage descends quickly and we all must accept that the light is getting dimmer, but we must fight to keep the flame burning brightly for as long as we can.

    1. Or as another poet stated, we must "rage, rage against the dying of the light."

    2. I have recently been re-reading Dylan Thomas.

  2. I love Robert Frost's poetry! :D

    1. Me, too. I haven't checked but I would guess that I probably feature him more here than other poets.

  3. What we might pass off as a "senior moment", Robert Frost uses to write a poem that echoes with the realities of old age. What imagery.

    1. I suspect that the mind of the poet finds poetry in all things.


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