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Beyond the Lone Islands

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Road Not Taken




The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

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.


Mountain Interval.  1920.


The author Paulo Coelho had this poem by Robert Frost on his blog the other day (but with a different picture). On Facebook, Coelho added the comment: “ALWAYS chose the road less taken”.

Reading the poem, though, I felt less sure whether that was also Frost’s decided opinion? I searched a bit more, and then found this note:

Robert Frost on his own poetry:
"One stanza of 'The Road Not Taken' was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England: Was found three or four years later, and I couldn't bear not to finish it. I wasn't thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn't go the other. He was hard on himself that way."
Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, 23 Aug. 1953


I too know people who are hard on themselves that way. Occasionally perhaps I also tend to be a bit hard on myself that way. But most of the time I try to tell myself that not all choices are as clear as being a choice between “right” vs “wrong”. Sometimes… we just have to choose a road and see where it takes us.


Look closely at the pictures at the top. Which one do you like better? Actually, one is the mirror image of the other, before I framed them (in Paint Shop). You’d have to know the spot where the photo was taken, I think, to tell which is the “right” one.   




California Girl said...

One of my favorite Frost poems, the other being "Nothing Gold Can Stay".

Sent this to my husband who has always sought the road not taken. It's taken me years to get used to it and now I finally am.

Thanks for the info on Frost finding the poem, etc.

Sandra said...

you are right, they look the same but different and i knew they were mirror image and i can't tell which one is which. I am one who is hard on myself and have been since childhood. in spite of knowing right from wrong i did take roads i should not have taken


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