Chera Hammons: Poet and Writer

"…a slow shutter on ambulation…"

Robert Frost’s Woods

I saw Robert Frost’s woods for the first time this winter, when I spent several days near Plainfield, Vermont. Since Frost is the reason I wanted to be a poet, this walk through the softly drifting snow was transcendental for me.  As a Texas girl, I have seen snow falling horizontally, snaking across the road in dry powder, and as an adopted New Mexican, I had seen it building over the mountains like smoke to drift white ashen on us and then disappear by noon. How fitting, then, that my return to poetry after a long and yellow absence would occur here, I thought: trees as tall as the Appalachians, and snow falling softly through them in the way I had imagined in my childhood. Though “The Path Not Taken” is often misinterpreted to mean that one road is better than another, instead of its more accurate interpretation (discovered by closer reading) that the paths we choose all simply lead us to different, but not necessarily better, places, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowing Evening” has never held any sort of mystery for me. I can hear the horse shaking his bells, and see the smoke from the farmhouses now. My breath in the air and the soft settling of the branches above me are all I need to tell me that these woods are mine.

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