Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Road Not Taken

I have never been very good at understanding poetry. In Year 10 my English Teacher read us the famous poem by Robert Frost: ‘The road not taken’...and now I realise I misunderstood it! Here it is – what do you think it’s about?

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; 5

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, 10

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. 15

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.

The consensus of experts apparently conclude that it is about the ‘human tendency to look back and attribute blame to minor events in one's life, or to make more meaning of things than they may deserve.’  For more discussion see Wikipedia. Re-reading it with that in mind, I can see what they mean but...

That's not the impression it left on me inYear 10, nor why I am commenting on it now. In year 10 I jumped to the conclusion – based on the last stanza – that it was about those times in our lives when we face a fork in the road. We have a choice and we could either go the easy way of the majority, or be a non-conformist and go via the road ‘less travelled by.’ The decision will define the rest of our lives.

Sorry if this sounds lame, but I am at that point in my life now. I have made a choice to go down the ‘road less travelled by.’ I have not done this, to be ‘cool’ or ‘avante garde’, innovative or independent. I have done it because my conscience will not allow me to go any other way. Right now it feels lonely, difficult, upsetting, strange and most of all – at 28 – risky.

To anyone out there at a fork in the road: listen to your heart, listen to your conscience and do what is right for you...

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