This is the second poem I chose to share with my family, in what will be a series to be sent approximately once a month, hand-written and by post, delivered to two brothers and their families, and one father. That means writing the poems out three times which isn’t a bad thing as it helps me anchor them in my memory. I also throw in a few notes and some personal comments.
The Road Not Taken is one of the first hundred or so poems I learned by heart, and I recite it to myself when walking in the nearby woods, where there are several such forks.
The poem seems to have a certain tension, somehow inviting an assumption that the walker took the ‘right’ road, the one that made all the difference to his life. Yet there is that sigh, perhaps no more than an acknowledgement that by taking one, he would inevitably not take the other, or a doubt as to whether he may have taken the wrong road after all.
The road I take through the woods is a circular walk which is quite long, two hours at a good clip from and to our front door, and so I tend to avoid digressions. But I realise that I have looked down several other tracks, paths and roads, and want to take them just to see where they go – a feeling I often have when driving past a turning to a small or somehow enticing lane. When I first passed my driving test three years ago, one of the first things I did was to drive out into the countryside and take a number of random turns.
And if it sounds like the circular walk is less adventurous for being a default route, I should mention that these walks have allowed me to stop and look at, and identify, some 150 wild flowers and plants and that each time I go, I discover new ones, as the spring and summer unfold. This, combined with the seasonal changes in leaf cover and angles of light, means the walk is like the proverbial river, always the same and yet always different.
And in case you missed it, here is the first poem in the series.
Source: Robert Frost (1874-1963) – The Road Not Taken
Photo credit: Pexels at pixabay
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.