Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
My little horse must think it queer
- Our speaker is not alone! He has a horse, and this horse is little. Maybe a pony.
- The speaker and his little horse probably spend a lot of time together, because our speaker is totally able to read the little horse's mind.
- He imagines that his horse is thinking that things are a little strange right now.
To stop without a farmhouse near
- Our speaker continues to read his horse's mind, and imagines the horse is thinking something along the lines of, "Whoa, why are we stopping here? We're in the middle of nowhereville. Where's my dinner? I don't know about you, but I'm cold. There isn't even a farmhouse close by – what's going on?"
- The fact that our speaker even attempts to figure out what his horse is thinking shows that he's a caring kind of guy, and that he's aware that stopping in the middle of some snowy woods is kind of a random thing to do.
Between the woods and frozen lake
- Now we get the 411 on just where, exactly, the speaker and his horse have stopped: they are currently hanging out between the woods and the "frozen lake," so they must be on a little patch of snowy shoreline with dark trees to one side and a glossy, ice-covered lake to the other.
- It must be really cold if the lake is frozen, and we also are kind of intrigued by the fact that the speaker is not riding through the woods, but is right beside the woods.
The darkest evening of the year.
- Not only is it snowy and wintry, but it's also approaching nighttime too.
- Why is this speaker dilly-dallying when the light is dying and the snow is falling? A lot of people in his place would want to scurry home as fast as is humanly possible.
- Besides sounding ominous and like the preview to a horror movie, "the darkest evening of the year" makes us think of the winter solstice, which occurs in late December (in the northern hemisphere) each year and marks the moment at which the sun is at its farthest possible distance from the observer.
- It also happens to mark the beginning of winter.
- Whatever the case may be, it's dark out and it's getting darker by the minute. We don't think that the speaker is the kind of guy to pack flashlights.