The Road Not Taken
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;
The first stanza begins with the poet stating that he had two choices presented metaphorically through the form of two roads diverging in a forest. However, he could only traverse one road. Thus he had to make a conscious decision and he contemplated between the two roads. He thus stood and looked down at one as far as he could to where the road bent in the forest.
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,
The poet takes the other road, having decided it to just as good as the first road and maybe even better than the first because it was greener and less worn than the other path. However, as he traverses the road the poet thinks maybe both the roads must be worn out equally due to travelling.
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.
The poet states that in the morning both the roads were equally covered with untrodden leaves which were not yet black which usually happens when someone steps on the leaves.
The poet exclaims that he kept the first road for another day when he would travel the first road. Yet the poet sadly knows that one road leads to another and it is very difficult to find one’s way back. This is a metaphor of the journey of life where one is led from one path to the journey and people rarely come back to where they once started. Thus the poet doubts as to whether he will ever come back to this place.
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 poet then envisions himself that somewhere in the future he would be telling with a sigh that two roads diverged in an autumnal wood and he chose and dared to take the one less travelled and that has made all the difference and helped him become the person he is today.
The two roads depict the various choices that are sprung our way and the need to be unconventional at times in our choice. Following the crowd doesn’t always make much of a difference thus in an implicit manner Frost encourages the reader to dare to make choices that differ from the rest, the choices that very few people make, the road less travelled by!