Famous Nature Poem

Robert Frost (1874-1963) spent many years living in New England, and a lot of his poetry was inspired by the landscape around him. In “Desert Places,” he uses the emptiness created by a snowstorm and the darkness of night to compare to depression and emotional turmoil. The loneliness of nature is nothing compared to the loneliness one experiences from their own darkness and isolation. Robert Frost had his own bouts with depression.

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The time was 1958, the school Oak Park River Forest High, in a western suburb west of Chicago. The class was English Literature, and the teacher was Mildred Linden. After Christmas break, we...

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Desert Places

Robert Frost By more Robert Frost

Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast
In a field I looked into going past,
And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,
But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

The woods around it have it--it is theirs.
All animals are smothered in their lairs.
I am too absent-spirited to count;
The loneliness includes me unawares.

And lonely as it is that loneliness
Will be more lonely ere it will be less--
A blanker whiteness of benighted snow
With no expression, nothing to express.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars--on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.

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Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • Richard E Whitelock by Richard E Whitelock
  • 10 months ago

The time was 1958, the school Oak Park River Forest High, in a western suburb west of Chicago. The class was English Literature, and the teacher was Mildred Linden. After Christmas break, we began an extensive study of Robert Frost. One January day, the snow began to fall outside our classroom window.

I am now 80 years and still remember hearing that poem for the first time. And to this very day, I still wonder whose house that was. I still remember her, Robert Frost, some of his poems about woods filling up with snow, or road less traveled, or a farmer's daughter planting her first garden. Would she now think more highly of me as a serious student?

Can you hear me Mrs. Linden? I would love to sit down with you one day and discuss all the roads we took and what a difference each one made in our lives. Your impact in teaching along with Frost's poems certainly affected my life greatly, and I thank you both.

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