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 keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It’s thus he does it of a winter night.

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

6 Comments

  1. FAIZA says:

    this poem is the marvelous poem by frost. in this poem he gives us the picture of the old man in a very impressive way.

  2. Asma shehzadi says:

    I took notice that the old man is in fact lonely, but that seemed to literal to be the meaning in one of Frost’s poems. With a little analyzation I discovered that Frost could possibly be comparing the relationship in the “ying yang”; the remnants of evil in good having a small portion within one another. This is justified through the old man’s light and his consignment with the moon on a winters night. The old man can only keep his house on a winter’s night because he can’t create darkness on a regular (sunny) day- he also has no planet to consign with durring the day except the sun (which isn’t dark).. thus he can only complete one half of the ying-yang.

    It is a sad and haunting poem, an old man living his last days ..alone. The poem may be understood better if you have ever lived in an old wood frame house in the country. The sounds of winter; expansion and contraction of materials, inside an outside create a powerful atmosphere that both repels and attracts you at the same time. The reader is frighten, you want to escape this house and it’s lonely occupant. The imagery invoked by the language is brilliant. I’m at a loss to imagine how poeple write like this. Poetry to me is the high ground of literature! If anyone knows where I can purchase this poem in “spoken word” by Robert Frost, please contact me.

    wayne bailey from

  3. Asma shehzadi says:

    i have read this poem many times and what i understand about this poem i would like to convey it to all of you.this poem by Frost is one of his best poems..

  4. Stephanie says:

    I took notice that the old man is in fact lonely, but that seemed to literal to be the meaning in one of Frost’s poems. With a little analyzation I discovered that Frost could possibly be comparing the relationship in the “ying yang”; the remnants of evil in good having a small portion within one another. This is justified through the old man’s light and his consignment with the moon on a winters night. The old man can only keep his house on a winter’s night because he can’t create darkness on a regular (sunny) day- he also has no planet to consign with durring the day except the sun (which isn’t dark).. thus he can only complete one half of the ying-yang.

  5. grace mana-ay says:

    The poem clearly depicts an old man’s empty life in the countryside. Being old, he feels wasted. Frost’s use of imagery allures readers to imagine how weary and boring an old man’s life is. The sound devices are effective! “The roar of trees, crack of branches and beating on the box,” fully illustrate some of Frost’s creative and vivid images. This poem highlights Frost’s sensitivity to nature.

  6. wayne bailey says:

    It is a sad and haunting poem, an old man living his last days ..alone. The poem may be understood better if you have ever lived in an old wood frame house in the country. The sounds of winter; expansion and contraction of materials, inside an outside create a powerful atmosphere that both repels and attracts you at the same time. The reader is frighten, you want to escape this house and it’s lonely occupant. The imagery invoked by the language is brilliant. I’m at a loss to imagine how poeple write like this. Poetry to me is the high ground of literature! If anyone knows where I can purchase this poem in “spoken word” by Robert Frost, please contact me.

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