Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

This is another one of my favorite poems. It is also the first poem I ever recall reading that wasn't written in a four line rhyming sequence, as with "Jack and Jill" and all the other poems that are taught in the 1st and 2nd grades. Actually, this one was first introduced to me in 5th Grade by Mrs. Denslow. I don't know where she is today; I could probably find her, or one of her children, to let them know what an impact this poem had upon me. Simply put, it stretched the boundaries of what I accepted as poetry, to something a little bit different; something which would lead me, later on, to appreciate "free verse" and other poetic styles, as valid. And, since the main purpose of this blog is for my grandchildren to know me more fully when they are older, I decided to include it here.

Poetry is the ability to condense our most complex emotions into the fewest words possible, without losing the message. Strictly structured, Haiku poetry is the champion in that regard. There are also epic poems, such as "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", and Poe's "The Raven", which are a bit more lengthy and have much to say. While I enjoy them, as well as Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, I have always remained enamored of the simple rhyme schemes in poetry by the likes of Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, etc. These poets also capture the same complex emotions as the others, but with one difference; they turn them into song, actually making the words sing. This particular poem always strikes me as the American version of Hartley Coleridge’s “Long Time A Child”, which I have posted here before;

"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.

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