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The Way Through the Woods Analysis



Author: Poetry of Rudyard Kipling Type: Poetry Views: 4805

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They shut the road through the woods

Seventy years ago.

Weather and rain have undone it again,

And now you would never know

There was once a road through the woods

Before they planted the trees.

It is underneath the coppice and heath,

And the thin anemones.

Only the keeper sees

That, where the ring-dove broods,

And the badgers roll at ease,

There was once a road through the woods.



Yet, if you enter the woods

Of a summer evening late,

When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools

Where the otter whistles his mate.

(They fear not men in the woods,

Because they see so few)

You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,

And the swish of a skirt in the dew,

Steadily cantering through

The misty solitudes,

As though they perfectly knew

The old lost road through the woods. . . .

But there is no road through the woods.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

I am of the opinion that the undone road means that the road which had disappeared over the last 70 years due to non usage or being blocked has suddenly resurfaced and is visible again and it is the view of the lost road that reminds the poet of his past or his days that he spent in the wild. This could also mean he remembering old times and being nostalgic about them.
Rishi Seth
PGT-English @ Gurukul the School, Ghaziabad

| Posted on 2015-09-01 | by a guest


.: :.

beautiful images of a wild place which once held such importance to people long before kiplings time..lovely lilting rhyme s describing the fascination rudyard see s in a road gone so long ago.real or imaginary he still see s people travel this haunting infastructure..wonderful.

| Posted on 2015-01-30 | by a guest


.: :.

My reading this date is that it is about lost cultures, lost languages, lost battles. Who now understands the 100 Years' War, or Churchil's wars in the Low Counties: "Fighting for the Queen in Flanders. Christ, what are patterns for?"

| Posted on 2014-12-16 | by a guest


.: :.

Today we have cleared the path and planted the trees on both the sides to reconstruct the path in the forest. In our life also we should not be afraid of the lost path but lay a new path and overcome the obstacles that comes on our path.
AKSHATHKRISHNA
8TH STANDARD SISHYASCHOOL
HOSUR TAMILNADU INDIA

| Posted on 2014-07-09 | by a guest


.: :.

Today we have cleared the path and planted the trees on both the sides to reconstruct the path in the forest. In our life also we should not be afraid of the lost path but lay a new path and overcome the obstacles that comes on our path.
AKSHATHKRISHNA
8TH STANDARD SISHYASCHOOL
HOSUR TAMILNADU INDIA

| Posted on 2014-07-09 | by a guest


.: :.

Nature overpowers man. The past can be hidden and buried, but never forgotten.

| Posted on 2013-09-22 | by a guest


.: :.

Nature overpowers man. The past can be hidden and buried, but never forgotten.

| Posted on 2013-09-22 | by a guest


.: :.

This was written after the death of his daughter, Josephine, following a bout of pneumonia in 1899.

| Posted on 2013-04-22 | by a guest


.: :.

As trassient as a fleeting cloud, everything in the world!

| Posted on 2013-02-19 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem has been analysed numerous times regarding the \'lone wandering horse\' vs. \'ghostly female rider\'.
The kipling society states that \"Kipling told Christabel MacNaghten that he had written a poem about ghosts in a wood; no one sees the ghosts; you only hear the galloping of a horse and the sound of a lady\'s skirt, swishing as she rides\".
Stanza one sets the scene, stanza two is consistent
with stanza one and line 25 brings the reader back to
reality.

| Posted on 2013-01-31 | by a guest


.: :.

For anyone interest, Pet Shop Boys have a song on The Way Through The Woods (It is a b\' side on the single \"Winner\" released 6th August 2012), you can find it on Youtube.
The poem itself is a beautiful but un-nerving piece, The way through the woods is in my eyes the path through life, obstacles will obstruct you way some of which you planet their yourself many years before but are only now big enough to stop you, it\'s about growing old, it\'s about life and the way we think in our early years how our lives will go (the paths we take)but in the end there is no set path and no one really follows their chosen set path through life.
very thought x

| Posted on 2012-08-04 | by a guest


.: :.

I think Rudyard kipling has lost his ponny and came here to find it and was stuck in quick sand

| Posted on 2012-05-02 | by a guest


.: :.

I think this poem is different :) i am stuck though in \'when the night air cools on the trout-ringed pools\'
HELP I NEED THE ANSWER BY 19/02/12:(

| Posted on 2012-02-18 | by a guest


.: :.

Kipling portrays the loss of Man's influence and presence on the landscape; he attempts to show us that man has lost the power to affect his environment, and that man is ephemeral. a simpler vision or the first one

| Posted on 2011-08-21 | by a guest


.: :.

The road has been \"shut\" off by the intervention of man. This is metaphorical of how mankind has lost the way through life. Kipling portrays the loss of Man\'s influence and presence on the landscape; he attempts to show us that man has lost the power to affect his environment, and that man is ephemeral. Meanwhile, nature is conveyed as the powerful force, and it is ironic that it only takes \"thin anemones\" to obscure the road. The very trees that man planted on the landscape is now blocking the road, as previously mentioned, it is metaphorical of how man has become his own obstacle in life, through intervention.
The brain teaser and ghostly mystery is when Kipling states \"there is no road through the woods\". Here the reader feels a sense of loss, and the tone is so depressing, as we begin to question our progress as a part of the human race.

| Posted on 2011-05-02 | by a guest


.: :.

I think this is a lovely poem about a past memory of things that once were and a sense of loss but also of beauty. Whether the woman is actually a ghost, or just a sweet and poignant memory is for the reader to decide. I think she is a ghost - but what are ghosts? I agree with someone who said a lot of the previous stuff is over analysis.
I would like to clarify, skirt refers to a ladies riding habit, not saddle skirts, which is an obscure part of the saddle which certainly wouldn\'t swish. Kipling would have known this. At the time this poem is referring to \"70 years ago\" from when it was written, women would have ridden sidesaddle and worn a riding habit with a skirt covering their legs. \"They\" can only refer to the woman and her horse - a horse is as capable of knowing about a road (lost or otherwise) as a rider. The reference suggests a partnership between the rider and her horse.

| Posted on 2011-04-05 | by a guest


.: :.

\'The Way Through the Woods\' is a giant metaphor of Rudyard Kipling\'s life. The road is the path of his life, and, after so many bad times (\"the wind and rain have undone it again\"), he\'s realised that the road he once followed has been grown over by trees and wildlife.

| Posted on 2011-01-30 | by a guest


.: :.

\"You will hear the beat of a horse\'s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,\"
A \'skirt\' is the hairy part of a horse tail. See x example.
With this definition, there is no reason to believe the horse had a rider.

| Posted on 2010-09-19 | by a guest


.: :.

this poem which is written by rudyard kipling gives us avivid picture of the wildlife in the forest

| Posted on 2010-09-16 | by a guest


.: :.

Hi,The poem,the way through the wood is the most precious poem i have ever read.And our padmavati teacher reads well and explain so nice that i just think that in the end that those who enjoy that seen they must think that the women swish her skirt in air but those who fear that seen they will think that the beat of the horse feet.
By loving student,
Bidya Bharati
From std-vi
Chinmaya Vidyalaya.
Thank you

| Posted on 2010-08-28 | by a guest


.: :.

What a load of pompous nonsense. If Rudyard Kipling sat an exam about the meaning of his poetry, he'd fail... it's a poem about an old road , lost to nature, nicely written and a bit sad. End of.
A Brock

| Posted on 2010-06-01 | by a guest


.: :.

And, actually, it's very possibly a lone woman, or male cross dresser, riding. The rider and the horse being "they".

| Posted on 2010-03-12 | by a guest


.: :.

"You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though THEY perfectly knew..."
Firstly, I think we can accept multiple interpretations of this. The poem creates different meaning for different people. However, I'd suggest that part of a leather saddle would not "swish" through the dew and that "They" probably suits the idea of a couple knowing something as opposed to a horse and part of it's saddle. And let's face it... a ghostly love angle is a more poetic image.

| Posted on 2010-03-12 | by a guest


.: :.

i reckon it's means that mankind will always have a sort of presence where it's been, even if it is not visual

| Posted on 2010-01-10 | by a guest


.: :.

this poem depicts the about the road throug which men used to go but now trees aregrown on it
posted by
silica cymore

| Posted on 2009-08-24 | by a guest


.: :.

its a wonderful poem. in the 1st stanza the poet tells about the condition of the road. how it is deserted with thin anemones.etc.and then about the animals in the next few lines.and then the lines make us feel unique and haunted.the swish of a skirt iin the dew is the line very mysterious. on the whole it is very different and soulful poem.
By
Susmitha

| Posted on 2009-07-06 | by a guest


.: :.

one of the readers commented about Kipling having written this after his son died. If you research a little you can see it was written before that. So mentioning that in analysis for those who study it at school would be wrong :)

| Posted on 2009-05-18 | by a guest


.: :.

as someone else pointed out, you have to make sure you don't confuse the 'skirt in the dew' referring to a woman.a skirt is a part of a horse saddle kind of and so STOP thinking it's about love and wha tnot

| Posted on 2009-03-14 | by a guest


.: :.

In the first stanza Kipling sets the scene. The road that 70 years ago existed has now disappeared "Weather and rain have undone it again." The natural life of the woods is set against the old vanished road: "where the ring-dove broods, And the badgers roll at ease, There was once a road through the woods.”
In the second verse the poem becomes a ghost story and with beautiful imagery conjurs an idyllic way of life now lost. If you go now into the woods, which people seldom do, "You will hear the beat of a horse's feet, And the swish of a skirt in the dew, Steadily cantering through / The misty solitudes"
The reader is left with impressions of peaceful natural beauty and the impermanence of manmade things, remembered only by the “keeper” and the ghostly horse and rider.

| Posted on 2009-03-13 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is about an individual's (the keeper) reflection on life's path through seventy years, the memories - visual and audio. The heartbeat (beat of horse's feet cantering), tears (misty solitudes), and sighs (swish of a skirt), all emotionally synchronized (as if though they perfectly knew)

| Posted on 2009-03-01 | by a guest


.: :.

There is too much over analysing here; something that can spoil the enjoyment of the best of poems. This is a simple, haunting ghost story. The 70 years, IMO, relates to the time the trees have grown not the age of man or the time back to Darwin (?). Skirts are a reference to horse accoutrements not mysterious women. I see no basis for "the way" being any reference to any religous theme. The Keeper sees because he has better woodcraft and is able to spot the discrepancies of growth. To me the overwhelming theme is the natural beauty of the woods and the wildlife offset against the haunting of the old road by the ghostly horse setting up the last line which is a kicker. Enjoy and don't overcomplicate.

| Posted on 2008-12-31 | by a guest


.: :.

To me the road through the woods was symbolic of the individual's journey through life. It existed for a time, but in the end there is no road through the woods, at least not in this life. I thought the 70 year reference was to the human life span? The ghostly imagery and references to things hidden refers to the uncertainty of life's journey, with all sorts of influences which are often unseen.

| Posted on 2008-09-01 | by a guest


.: :.

I liked this poem. Very mysterious. A history hidden by mother nature. Her power to reclaim whats Hers.
Funny thing is. when I was a teenager my brother and I would spend our weekends clearing some land that had been in our family for generations. When we dug a little maybe a foot deep we discovered an old road my grandfather had built probably 70 years back haha.
What a feeling I had, to kind of connect to a grandfather i never new. I will keep this land and hopefully my children or grandchildren will discover this aswell.

| Posted on 2008-07-08 | by a guest


.: Review :.

This poem to me has several parallel meanings. It describes how humans have given back this road to nature. However not even the most distant place will forget the human invasion.

| Posted on 2008-06-08 | by a guest


.: Review :.

This poem to me has several parallel meanings. It describes how humans have given back this road to nature. However not even the most distant place will forget the human invasion.

| Posted on 2008-06-08 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem represents his internal turmoil over what to believe - he doubts his own faith as science is now contradicting former beliefs, which are hard for him to believe in now anyway after the death of his son in the war.
religion and faith still exists, but it has been covered up and forgotten, and the former way through life by following god are no longer there [the loss of the road]
the natural imagery used links to the power of god, and suggests that he does still have religious beliefs, however difficult it is for him to still fully trust in them.

| Posted on 2008-05-20 | by a guest


.: :.

Rudyard Kipling lost his son in WW1. Before, Kipling had been patriotic and for war, but the death of his son changed everything. He felt partly responsible for his sons death. The road he talks about is the journey through life, which he believes is given by faith. However after his son died he lost all faith in the world. The "seventy years ago" is a reference to Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution, from the 1850's which he felt destroyed faith. The manmade pathway is obscured man trees that man planted, he is saying that the loss of faith is man's own fault. The last line is almost parallel to the first, showing there has been no movement through the poem. It is written in 2nd Person, showing how he feels detached, and although he talks about humans and human nature he does not express his personal view.

| Posted on 2008-05-04 | by a guest


.: :.

I reckon the road represents an alternative future or destiny which was closed off to the writer seventy years ago. The "swish of a skirt in the dew" phrase suggests that this destiny was one with a woman, a woman whom he could not be with. The writer is the "keeper", the only person who knows of the road. He is now nearing the end of his life (i assume, as his "road" was closed seventy years ago..) and is reminescing on what could have been, had this path not been closed off to him. However, he comes to realise that this future no longer exists, "there is no road through the woods" and his past cannot be changed...
anyone agree?

| Posted on 2008-05-04 | by a guest


.: analysis :.

in the way through the woods the internal rhyme such as line 3 "Weather and rain have undone it again" the internal rhyme of rain and again sounds prohesive because the memory in the woods does not break the harmony of nature.
THe "yet" beginning the second stanza turns the poem around and creates a pause creating tension and suspense
This poem is trying to show how nature has it's way over man, it's nostalgic but shows that the power of nature overalls man even though they can work together in harmony (which is showed as the ghostlike memories near the end because it does not bother the nature around it...
hope this helps....

| Posted on 2008-03-27 | by a guest


.: the way through the woods :.

I see this poem as a mystery story. There clearly used to be a road through the woods, but it has been deliberately unmade - "before they planted the trees". Now no casual observer can spot it. "The thin anenomes" suggests that the topsoil where the road once was is only a thin layer and the plants do not grow so well there. Local people apparently never venture into these woods as the animals are no longer afraid of human contact - "they fear not men in the woods because they see so few". I wonder whether "the keeper" is some sort of gamekeeper for the wildlife, or whether he is there to dissuade, possibly by forceful means, anyone from exploring these woods. I get the impression that the whole community is somehow involved in a cover up of some sort - but what happened "seventy years ago"? We are not given many clues, but it involved one or more women - "the swish of a skirt in the dew" - and someone on horseback. The final line sounds like the community insisting that the road never existed, almost shouting a denial at the casual interest expressed by a stranger - perhaps the road is still marked on a map and someone was asking where it was? Yes, definitely a mystery.
Lady Anne.

| Posted on 2008-03-02 | by a guest




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