Comment 10 of 20, added on November 14th, 2010 at 5:19 PM.
The speaker in Good Hours is evidently an elderly man. He is, at least,
alone, with no one to accompany him on his winter evening walk. But he
“had” a vision of youth. The cottages he passes are alight, “up to their
shining eyes in snow.” The eyes of youth shine, and the cottages become the
representation of the “youthful forms” he sees through the curtains, which
he also “had.” But he is separated from and outside of these possessions,
only perceiving them while actually alone in the dark and the cold.
Nevertheless, he considers that he “had” the young people’s “company” on
his outward stroll. He can’t enter the cottages and join the young people.
He is in a different world.
Nevertheless, when his walk takes him beyond the village he misses his
vision of youth. He “repents” having pursued his walk into the winter
night, and returns. By then the windows were dark and the occupants of the
cottages were, like the village street, presumably slumbering, or perhaps
making love. Now he “has” nothing. His lonely footsteps “creak” on the
snow, and perhaps his joints creak as well.
The poem’s paradox is that it is only at this point that his presence in
the village embarrasses him. He was not intrusive, but he was intensely
aware of the activity of the young people in cottages, whose faces and
forms he noticed. Despite his separation he somehow felt he was
participating in these activities. But the muted sound of his footsteps in
the slumbering village seemed to him a “profanation,” though the term
seemed to him somewhat excessive (“By your leave”).
He was, of course, awake when the inhabitants were presumably asleep. In
this sense he was then in a different world from theirs. But his world was
rather grim. An old man alone in the cold and darkness is confronted with
death. The young people are sleeping and he too will sleep. In the last two
identical lines of Stopping by Woods, the context implies that “sleep” in
the repeated line refers to death. Walking through the silent village
street the old man is a memento mori, a representative of senescence and
death. As such his solitary steps profane life. If the poem is about
anything, it concerns rejoicing in youthful life. But now there is no
occasion for joy, and his thoughts turn inward to his own state and future.
It is as if the village had been invaded by a ghost. It is life, rather
than death which is sacred for him, and now he stands only for death, which
defiles life. It is “ten o’clock on a winter’s eve.” Midnight is immanent.
He now “has”nothing.
albert s braverman
Comment 9 of 20, added on November 4th, 2010 at 10:00 PM.
i luv how he makes everything so realistic i have to remember this poem and
read it aloud in frount of my 6th grade class and teacher i will probaly
forget some words but always remember this poem
ari from United States
Comment 8 of 20, added on May 31st, 2010 at 8:53 PM.
I like how the title "Good hours" makes u suspect that its about good times
u've had in life, but really its about solitude, and in life when u take a
road one way and then turn around, everything has changed and you have
aged, everyone has died, the windows are black with nothing, etc. However i
really need to know the message of this project for school, so if anyone
has ideas plz share them:)
Sofia from United States
Comment 7 of 20, added on December 5th, 2009 at 2:40 AM.
It seems to me that one with a lack of understanding is so quick to hate a
work of art rather than to learn. Why is it that this planet is so afraid
to feel??? That which is a thing of beauty should be treasured, not
despised because of it. Poetry is so many things, but above all else, it is
the song of the soul, the notes are strokes of ink on paper, given as a
gift of ones self to others, in the hope that our deepest and truest
emotions can be shared in their purest form. How, in the name of God, can
anyone treat such a gift with hatred and vulgarity? Are you afraid? Do you
look at a thing of beauty and spit on it? What has become of humanity? It
is enough to make one despair.
Catherine Rose from United States
Comment 6 of 20, added on April 11th, 2009 at 7:21 AM.
Robert Frost is the best poet ever
from United States
Comment 5 of 20, added on April 13th, 2008 at 7:57 PM.
I have to admit that this poem is different from all other kinds. For
example it really compels
Lebey from Australia
Comment 4 of 20, added on March 27th, 2006 at 4:45 PM.
OMG I LOVE this poem to death!!! I think he illistrates loneliness really
well. I love Robert Frost!!!
Sam from United Kingdom
Comment 3 of 20, added on October 12th, 2005 at 11:25 PM.
This poem is a brillant expression of solitude, rejection, and lonliness.
Jazzmin from United States
Comment 2 of 20, added on September 5th, 2005 at 10:36 PM.
I like good hours without Robert Frost his poem sucked and im glad his dead
I hate the fact that i also have to do english work on it thanks alot
Robert stick my finger up at ypou fuck face god bless america!!- Poms suck
and the aussies play betta cricket. I love rikki stewart
paige riseley from Australia
Comment 1 of 20, added on October 25th, 2004 at 3:05 PM.
What a magnificent poem. So small, yet so very large.
from United States
This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.