Friday, December 01, 2006

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken
(Robert Frost 1874-1963)

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.

I first memorized this poem back in high school. Memorizing it came in handy when, in university, I had to memorize a poem for public speaking. Now, twenty three years later, I still remember the poem and again, as in many other instances, it has come in handy as I have come upon decisions which I have to make.

Sometimes, these decisions are easy to make… You follow other people’s advice or examples. You make these decisions based on what everybody else would decide. The stakes are low in this decision making process. You feel that if most people take this road then why shouldn’t you. “Two out of every three doctors say that …”

Other times, these decisions are difficult to make… You have to go it alone because nobody else has made a decision on exactly the same situation that you are going through. You discover that you have to make this decision based on what is in your heart and soul. The stakes could be quite high. You cannot ask the crowd for advice because only you know the issues and what is best for you … or do you?

It is this latter road that I have to decide upon for myself. Hopefully down the road it can be said that “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.”

Wish me luck!


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I know very little about poetry but enjoy what you post. "The Road Not Taken" is perhaps just one of a handful of poems that has meant something in my life.

I wish you God's blessings as you journey on.

Anonymous said...

I love when Little Edie quotes her own version of this poem in Grey Gardens. Frost has always been one of my favorites. I've been introducing my son to his work.