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.
I came across the poem, The Road not Taken, during my middle school years. Many just read the poem for academic purpose. But, I found a deeper meaning in it, for the ending of the poem could be whichever way I wanted it to be. The end can be of regret or relief, whichever you decide to understand. That is when I realised the magic of poetry and my love for it as well.
On the road of life, the poet comes across a divergence. Now, he faces a choice to choose one of the two roads. Both of the roads are equally appealing and challenging. He tries to examine both the choices, but since the future is not predictable he can’t see where the choices will lead him. The poet then selects the road which looks lesser worn out, hence less travelled. This indicates that the poet has an independent spirit. But, a second gaze then tells him that both the roads are equally worn out.
That morning nobody had taken either of the roads. The leaves lay undisturbed on both the roads. The poet stuck with his initial choice. He assigned another day to tread the first road. But soon it dawned upon him that he may never come back to this point of road, or life, again.
Now back in the present the poet remembers the moment he made his decision. He chose the road less travelled, and then he sighs. This sigh can be either of regret or relief. But whatever the feeling may be, this choice will definitely have a significant impact on his life.
The title of the poem is as intriguing as the ending. Which road is actually the road not taken? As in the starting the lesser worn road is the road which is not taken by many. But as we progress towards the poet’s decision, the road he didn’t take becomes the road not taken. This my friend is the beauty of poetry.