The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

Another well known poem for today and one that I remember studying at school. I think I must have been given this for either my GCSEs or A-levels as I remember this being one of the first poems I studied “seriously” ie we were told to read it, and read it, and read it and read it again. Then dissect the meaning. And find new meaning. I’m not sure I enjoyed that dissection however I’ve been thinking about choices and the decisions I have made in my life a lot recently. I’ve also been thinking about how in a year’s time, I will probably be wishing that I have few commitments and that, hopefully, things will be different. At the very least we will be one and half years on from the initial lockdown in a year’s time and things will have changed. Contemplating coming out of lockdown also makes me think of the decisions I will make and the possible paths that could open. This time of the year always makes me reflective as the year starts to draw to a close and a new one beckons. And this poem is a good reminder to reflect on decisions and consequences. It also feels a bit autumnal or maybe that is because I keep walking in the woods and choosing the less muddy path so I don’t have to keep washing the dog! A bit literal but…

The Road Not Taken

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.

1915

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