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.
Short Poem Analysis
"Desert Places" by Robert Frost is a contemplative and introspective poem that explores themes of loneliness, emptiness, and the gradual erosion of the self. The speaker reflects on a wintry landscape, describing it as a metaphorical representation of his own inner state. As the poem unfolds, the desolation of the external environment becomes intertwined with the speaker's emotional turmoil.
The poem's opening lines introduce the vast, snow-covered landscape that appears empty and abandoned. The repetition of the phrase "snow falling and night falling fast" creates a sense of isolation and inevitability, suggesting a progression toward darkness and isolation. The parallel drawn between the external and internal landscapes indicates the speaker's emotional detachment and sense of loneliness.
Frost skillfully employs imagery to evoke a feeling of desolation and inner emptiness. The idea of the "blanker whiteness" not only describes the snow-covered scenery but also symbolizes the void within the speaker's soul. The "weasel" that vanishes further emphasizes the theme of emptiness, as even a small, fleeting presence disappears.
The poem's closing lines reveal a poignant realization on the part of the speaker. The sight of the snow-covered field makes him recognize that he, too, is as "deserted" and "void of life." This recognition leads to a sense of existential dread, highlighting the universal human fear of insignificance and mortality.
"Desert Places" invites readers to contemplate the profound sense of isolation and emptiness that can creep into the human experience. Through its portrayal of a wintry landscape and the speaker's introspective journey, the poem prompts reflection on the fragile nature of human existence and the struggle to find meaning in the face of internal and external desolation.