Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Robert Lee Frost's Birthday

In his honor.....

Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Many of us have had to memorize this at one point or another in our lives and maybe we know it still. It is easy to see why. Poetry with rhyme, rhythm, meter and meaning are easy to remember. If you want to get technical you could note that this is in Iambic Tetrameter - four iambic feet with an AABA chain rhyme.

Another one of Frost's most well known poems is this one:

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.

This poem is often used for graduations and other momentous occasions, but if you really look at it, well, it is kind of mocking. The text in red states the the roads are equally untraveled. So there really isn't a road less traveled, both are equally new...although both untraveled by our poet...and by us.

I like the part in green though. It reminds me of the tall tales told by our grandparents. It all but says "One day when I am old and gray I will tell of how I took the hard road, walking uphill and back in the snow; but I am tough and persevered and that is how I became the success I am today."

In the end, this poem speaks to me as a chronic second guesser. I always wonder how things would have been if I had zigged instead of zagged. I hope at the end of my path, I will look back and say, with a sigh, that the road I traveled was the right one and made me who I am today.

On a less starchy note, this poem and the deep thoughts it has inspired, reminds me of the random song that came up on the shuffle mode of my Ipod....This is your life by Switchfoot. Next time you reach a fork in the road, think of this song.
Don't close your eyes...this is your life...are you who you want to be?

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