Only two poets have impacted my outlook. Before them, I enjoyed poetry but just couldn’t “get” it. I could admire rhythm and appreciate language, but it wasn’t until my freshman year of high school in 1999 that I was made aware that I could be a poet. I didn’t think I had a poetic bone in me, especially considering I’ve never been a fan of Shakespeare (still not) or knew how to write a poem. I did not think I could write in meter, and thought meter was required to be a poet.
I did not like most poets in the canon, or their canonical work. I refused to hear “the great works” since I could not understand them. As I’ve aged, I think the reason I cannot understand a thing is because I have not developed intellectual capability. At any one time, it is impossible for me to understand the next facet of a concept I will comprehend a day from now, or a year, or ten years. I mean this in the sense that I can read a book one year, reread it later, and be as entertained as the first time. Between readings, the book evolved into a new story, so it can only be read differently.
Rewind to one not-so-special day as I sat in my advanced composition college-prep course with Mr. K. I had some free time, so for grins, I wanted to read a poem by a well-known author. I wanted to prove I could enjoy doing so, that I could understand it, and that it would mean something to me. I found what I was looking for in The Road Not Taken. I was on the cusp of the next phase of my life, nearly graduated from high school and ready for college in a new place. This poem by Robert Frost is change, and change again, reminding me that the roads I choose in life continue on.
This poem by Frost allows me a measure of peace, since either road can be good. The road the subject of the poem decided to take, “grassy and wanted wear,” reassures me somehow. One of the roads in the poem is more difficult, but both can be walked if the decision is made to do so.
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;
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 marked 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.
Edward Connery Latham, ed. The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems. 2nd ed. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2002. Print.