The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost, 1874–1963

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This poem has challenged many imaginations. There are various interpretations to demystify what Frost is pointing to. Here’s my take:

—–

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,  (I reached this juncture when I graduated from high school. It was time to choose a university and a course of study.)

And sorry I could not travel both (There were many choices, but unfortunately I had to choose only one.)

And be one traveler, long I stood (I had to weigh all the considerations. What future role will I do in life and what would be my contribution to the world?)

And looked down one as far as I could (I considered the other options too)

To where it bent in the undergrowth; (and see where would they lead me to.)

—–

Then took the other, as just as fair, (I made a decision and I felt good about it)

And having perhaps the better claim (It sounded like it is an honorable course)

Because it was grassy and wanted wear, (Because nobody has ever taken it before, if there’s any)

Though as for that the passing there (So I took that path)

Had worn them really about the same, (And realized many had taken that road too.)

—–

And both that morning equally lay (That day I began the course)

In leaves no step had trodden black. (I learned many had passed before me)

Oh, I marked the first for another day! (Have I considered the other options?)

Yet knowing how way leads on to way (But I know, I have to move on)

I doubted if I should ever come back. (And there was no turning back)

—–

I shall be telling this with a sigh (Yes I have come to this stage where I ask myself do I regret?)

Somewhere ages and ages hence: (After so many years, I am standing here. Am I really living my purpose?)

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, (There were choices then)

I took the one less traveled by, (But I took the one less people chose)

And that has made all the difference. (And that has set me apart.)

—–

The road less traveled by has deeply fascinated me. Who doesn’t want to be a pioneer, to be unique, to be unconventional? Why walk with the crowd and settle for conformity when you can stand out to be different?

God said, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Each of us are born unique and therefore, to take the first road would have kept me vulnerable to mediocrity.

When I was in college, I traveled back home every semester break. I was 17 or so. I remember an uncle who loved “intellectual stimulation”. He dared me to to read  books. One day, I was lucky to find a book– a Collection of Great Essays. No one owns it; it came from nowhere. I turned a few pages and I found the language, the thoughts so beautiful. The prose and philosophy serenaded my soul. I read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and verily, I excerpted a portion of his essay that declares: “I wasn’t born to live like those I have seen in existence; if I am not better, at least, I am different.”

That was the beginning of my long love affair with Literature. It has opened my senses to the cycle of seasons and the kaleidoscopic elements of nature.

While I find bliss in the road less traveled by, Ralph Waldo Emerson inspired me even further with this challenge: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

I dare to say I did.

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