The American poet Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874, in San Francisco, CA. He spent his first 40 years mostly unknown, and it wasn’t until after returning to the United States from England—where he had his first two books of poetry published—near the beginning of the first World War, that he was truly recognized by the publishing world as the talented word-smith he was. During his later life he earned four Pulitzer Prizes, and as the unofficial U.S. “poet laureate” he was a special guest at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961. He died of surgical complications two years later, at the age of 88.

Below are what are generally considered his five greatest poems in no particular order. You may also click here for ten lesser known but great poems by Frost. 


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Analysis of “The Road Not Taken” can be found here.


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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.


Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.


Acquainted with the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another sireet,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right
I have been one acquainted with the night.


Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


Biography written by Dusty Grein.

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The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

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23 Responses


    ThE French translation of The Road Not Taken is a misery of a translation.
    One line goes: the road had GARMENTS ?????? des vêtements..? It’s just a catastrophe. How can I post the true translation, all rhymed and alexandrined, of this wonderful poem ? A translation you can see before publishing it on the site named Toute la poésie, under my name Hubert Albert Clos Lus?.

  2. Vyan

    For some reason, these poems aren’t what I was expecting. The one with the burial mound(I can’t remember it’s name) was dark. Somehow I was thinking they would be different. Oh well.

  3. Lee Harshbarger

    I’ve always loved “Stopping by the woods”. It intrigued me as a youth and oddly enough I’ve lived the last stanza many times over. Thank you Mr. Frost

    • Matthias

      Hi Susan,

      I couldn’t find it. Could you please tell me where I’ll find it?


  4. Matthias

    I’m wondering why we didn’t hear about Robert Lee Frost in school… unbelievable. In my opinion (English is not my mother tongue) he is really one of the greatest poets all over the world. Saying complicated things with ordinary and few words, poetry at it’s best. THANK YOU !
    Just to mention two other wonderful poets of the same level:
    Charles d’Orléans and Enzo di Hohenstaufen (both of the Middle Ages but as modern as possible).

    • Dharmendra Kumar

      We had the poem ‘The road not taken’ during our secondary schooling.

  5. James Sale

    Truly great work here, Evan: part of the greatness is the seeming simplicity of the language and its natural flow, but it creates a torrential flood of beautiful meanings.

  6. adam c

    I’m surprised “Birches” and “After Apple-Picking” aren’t on here.


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