“Two roads diverged…”
From the very first time I read the poem, “The Road Not Taken” in high school, it became a favorite. I remember discussing the different possible interpretations in class, each of us influenced by our personal experiences up to that long-ago and ripe age of 16.
As Mar grew up we shared our Poetry Hour and often read…and re-read this poignant poem by Robert Frost. Never will I forget the expression of awareness on her face as she walked out of the house at age 15 on her way to attend the Interlochen Arts Academy where she had chosen to study before going to Williams College. She had always shared my fascination with this poem and chose it as the central focus of her college application essay.
Needless to say, over the years the significance and meaning have increased for both of us: I chose the road “less traveled by”, the more improbable of the two roads, almost 45 years ago and have always been keenly aware ” that how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back”. Yes, I have always regretted and been “sorry I could not travel both and be one traveller”. Yes, I have always felt the poignant nostalgia in “Oh, I kept the first for another day”, for just another day!
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, 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 feet 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 travelled by,
and that has made all the difference.
I am indeed “telling this with a sigh” after 45 years of “ages hence”, an inevitable sigh as I recall the first step, that step of no return of the “less-travelled road” that I chose that day where “two roads diverged in a yellow wood”. I took the road “less-travelled by, and that has made all the difference”. Where would that other road have led me? Ages ago, “long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other”.
Like me, Mar chose the “less travelled road” 27 years ago...”and that has made all the difference” to her as well. I ask the same question: where would that other road have led her? Like me, “knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back”, she nevertheless took that first step on the “less-travelled” road in the woods.
Which road did you take when your “two roads diverged” ? “Did it make all the difference”?
We WILL get back to that discussion of the Flemish Primitives / The Northern Renaissance…so please stayed tuned. Also, coming soon “20 Years of Tuesdays” and THE LIST of “A Few of My Favorite Things in Umbria”.