Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

I cannot help thinking about this poem over and over again. In fact, I've been using two lines of it as my status in more than one social media. What I love about it, as what I love about most Frost's poems, is that the poems are written in most simple words, but have deep meaning. For me personally, the poem tells you everything that passes your mind when you're about to take an important decision that might change your whole life. And here it goes:

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.

Isn't it just so sweet? Frost beautifully expressed the gravity and seriousness of decision-making in something as simple as choosing someone's way. I've never formally analysed a poem before, and I don't even know the right way to do it. But I'd like to tell you how the poem sounds to me.

Firstly the poem found himself in a branching road – a road of his life. He knew he couldn't 'travel both,' but he considered seriously which road he's going to take. Aren't we all like that, especially when facing an important decision in our lives? At last he made his decision, but his choice was not something that people would ordinarily choose. He chose a road 'grassy and wanted wear.'

One of the lines I love most in this poem: “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 do that all the time, thinking that one day I will do something I chose to postpone ages ago. But in reality, we all know that time doesn't go in a circle. It goes on, and because our decision leads us to another, we can't just go back and try another option.

Some people think that the poem's sigh in the last stanza expresses his regret of the choice he had made long time ago. For me, it's like when you are lying on your back and thinking about the past, taking a deep breath. And then you smile because long time ago, you chose the road 'less travelled by,' and that's why your life, your journey, your story, is different. I must be a sigh of satisfaction.

(And now it reminds me of the song My Way)


  1. This is beautiful, the poem and your analysis. I like your interpretation, too. It has never been clear to me if the narrator feels regretful or content, but either way there must be confusion, when he admits the two roads are worn "really about the same," yet he is convinced he took the one less traveled.

    1. Thank you. And because recently I needed to make quite a decision, the poem gave a new meaning for me. I also want to take the road "less traveled by" because that's what makes life exciting. :D