What is the "message" of the poem?

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There is a mistaken assumption built into this question—that poets are preachers or philosophers or moralizers in every poem they write.  Here, Frost is an observer, a contemplater, and (even if you subscribe to the theory that the woods represent death) the poem is a sketch of a moment in...

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There is a mistaken assumption built into this question—that poets are preachers or philosophers or moralizers in every poem they write.  Here, Frost is an observer, a contemplater, and (even if you subscribe to the theory that the woods represent death) the poem is a sketch of a moment in his own experience when he pauses to breathe in the calmness of the atmosphere.  If there is any “lesson” to be passed along, it is to enjoy occasionally the beauty of the stillness around your busy day, to let the hurly-burly of the physical world pause a moment to not forget to feel the textures of life.  The horse, in this interpretation, helps to reinforce the metaphor; it is a dumb beast, incapable of contemplation; “he gives his harness bells a shake” because he cannot separate “work” from “living” and cannot imagine, cannot project to a non-working existence, but Frost can.  Near the end of a busy day doing something away from his home, the first-person narrator pauses on his way to his bed.  Why?  No practical reason—no adjustment, no impediment, just a moment of tranquility.  Frost is perhaps suggesting the reader should do the same from time to time.

 

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