Sometimes we (or at least I) make the mistake of thinking those pomes we get introduced to at an early age are not worthy of more serious consideration as we mature as readers. Here is an “early introduction” poem that is really great: Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” It is from the collection “New Hampshire,” which won him his first Pulitzer. (The complete poem follows).
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
If we can harken back to your lessons on different types of poems, this is an interlocking rubaiyat. A rubai (plural = rubiayat) is a stanza with a rhyme scheme aaba. Rubiayat are interlocking if the next stanza rhymes bbcb and the pattern repeats for all the stanzas. So for example here, the first stanza lines end with know, though, HERE, snow. The second stanza has three lines that end with words that rhyme with “here” (queer, near, and year).
So the last stanza should rhyme ddEd. But Frost ends it ddDd, signaling the end. This shows that poets can use tricks like this in their endings.
There are also lots of other great things about this ending, including its possible social commentary. It’s amazing how much analysis there is out there about this little poem, including ideas that Frost ridiculed during his lifetime. But that is what happens with a poem that is clearly ended, but OPEN ended.
Of course, it contains one of the most famous uses of repeated final lines.
The other thing that strikes me about this poem is that Frost could have gone on and on about nature with no natural ending point in sight. Yet he uses his narrator’s situation as a device to produce a short thought provoking piece.
"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien