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 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.

By Robert Frost

Hmm! Which way?
Which way should I choose? It’s a question we meet many times in our lives.
Especially if we choose our own path and don’t go with the flow.
Sometimes there is good reason for self-examination. Could I have done things differently? If I had only done this and that.
Consequently, many people interpreted Robert Frost’s poem The Road not taken as a missed opportunity that might have resulted in a great joy. But it turns out that the poem must be taken literally.
I came to think of the poem on a Sunday when I coincidently met two men in Jægersborg Deer Park. They could be heard long before they became visible.
Their language had evolved into a dangerously low vocabulary. They couldn’t find the way. It was hot! Yes, there are a few hot days eventually. An oppressive heat that may well dampen the brain activity.
As I approached, one of the men sank down over the handlebars of the bike by simply fatigue.
They had gone down on equipment 🙂
Their bike tires wasn’t suited in any way for the fresh gravel on the paths. Now they had to find a tarmac road. They wanted to get out of the park, and that development couldn’t go fast enough.
One had Google map on his phone, but every time he suggested a way the other rejected the idea. I quietly asked if I could be of any help, and their use of language changed on the spot.
I gave them a physical card, and explained them the way in a few words.
It was a grateful deed. They became so happy that I got infected.
Robert Frost had a walking friend in England the writer Edward Thomas. They did a lot of walking together and Frost sent Thomas an advance copy of “The Road Not Taken.”
The poem was intended by Frost as a gentle mocking of indecision, particularly the indecision that Thomas had shown on their many walks together. Frost later expressed chagrin that most audiences took the poem more seriously than he had intended.

Happy Walk and remember your packed lunch and map 🙂

Hvilken vej skal jeg vælge? Det er et spørgsmål, vi møder mange gange i vores liv. Især hvis vi vælger vores egen vej og ikke går med strømmen.
Nogle gange er der god grund til selvransagelse. Kunne jeg have gjort tingene anderledes? Hvis jeg bare havde gjort dette og hint.
Derfor fortolker mange mennesker Robert Frosts digt The Road not taken som en forspildt mulighed i livet, der kunne have resulteret i en stor glæde. Men Frost ville ha’ os til at opfatte digtet bogstaveligt.

Jeg kom til at tænke på digtet en søndag, da jeg tilfældigt mødte to mænd i Jægersborg Dyrehave. De kunne høres længe før de blev synlige.
De skældte hinanden ud. De kunne ikke finde vej. Det var varmt! Ja, tænk engang. En kvælende varme, der meget vel kan dæmpe hjernens aktivitet.
Da jeg nærmede sig, sank en af mændene hen over styret af cyklen af bare træthed.

De var gået ned på udstyr 🙂

Deres cykeldæk var på ingen måde egnet til det friske grus på stierne. Nu måtte de finde en asfaltvej. De ønskede at komme ud af parken, og den udvikling kunne ikke gå hurtigt nok. Én af dem havde Google map på sin telefon, men hver gang han foreslog en vej afviste den anden idéen. Jeg spurgte stille og roligt, om jeg kunne hjælpe, og deres brug af sproget ændrede på stedet.

Jeg gav dem et fysisk kort, og forklarede dem vejen i få ord. Det var en taknemmelig gerning. Det blev de så glade for, at det smittede.

Robert Frost havde en ven i England forfatteren Edward Thomas. De vandrede sammen i bjergene, og da Frost rejste hjem til USA, sendte han Thomas en kopi af “The Road Not Taken”.

Hensigten med digtet var ment som en kærlig mobning af den ubeslutsomhed som Edward Thomas havde vist på deres mange ture sammen.
Frost senere udtrykte ærgrelse, at hans læsere tog digtet mere alvorligt, end han havde tænkt.

God vandretur og husk madpakke og kort 🙂

28 thoughts on “The Road not taken

  1. Hi Hanna. Someone sent me this poem a long time ago after I’d written something on my blog, and I have read and re-read it many times since because it is beautifully written and captures that moment of slight indecision when confronted by a fork in the road. I can see why Frost was dismayed when people tried to interpret it otherwise. Simply, it is what it is, and is all the more beautiful for being that.
    Regards, Alen

    1. To tell you the truth, Alen. I got it all wrong the first time I read it. But I’m use to that so I went for the interpretation on the web and was confirmed: It’s a great thing to know your peak competencies. I like the poem a lot and I find it useful for both purposes 🙂

  2. Oh Hanna, you have such a way with words you make me smile too! Did you know that Edward Thomas was also a keen cyclist? In 1913 he cycled from London to the Quantocks following the signs of spring as he travelled west. He too met some eccentrics on the way.

    1. Hi Ash. Thanks a lot for that information. I’m going to study the journey of Edward Thomas’. I love eccentric people. The world would be a sad place without 🙂 🙂

  3. Inspirerende billeder – apropos veje så fik jeg som meget ung at vide af en fornuftig gammel mand at livet var fuld af t-kryds – enten forsatte man eller også vendte man om ved nærmeste mulighed (eventuelt ved en rundkørsel) – det med at jamre sig over at man havde taget den forkerte vej kom man ingen vegne med… 😀

    1. Kender du Ottevejskrydset mellem Gadevang og Nødebo? Her kom Søren Kierkegaard på grund af den ensomhed der hvilede over stedet. Her filosoferede han over, hvordan man i livet kunne træffe det rette valg, vælge den rigtige vej.
      Jeg synes, 8 vejskrydset er bedre end et t-kryds 😀 …men han var nu fornuftig den gamle mand 🙂

      1. Jeg har altid synes at “Søren” var meget fornuftig – meget bedre end de nye nutidige danske så-kaldte filosofer der har travlt med at nedgøre ham – jeg er enig med den gamle professor fra Aarhus Uni der mener det er ren misundelse fra deres side alene fordi de ikke fænger som han gjorde og slet ikke i det store udland… 🙂

        Kender godt krydset, bedre end en rundkørsel… 😀

  4. I had to study this poem at school and I wondered at the time what the poet truly meant by it. It seems that it has indeed been misinterpreted by many, including me. 🙂 It is a lovely poem and I am glad to know its true origins. I will think of it now when I come to forks on my hiking trails and remember Frost and his companion. Thank you!

    1. Jane, I find that poetry has the ability to take you high (Can I say that?) To lift your spirit and make you fantasize. I really appreciate those qualities.
      If a poem can do such a thing I will take the liberty to interpret the poem, so I get the greatest personal happiness. Though I properly will think of Frost and his companion too 😀 ❤
      All the best,
      Hanna

      1. Wow, what a story! Rather sad really but very interesting. I didn’t know much about Edward Thomas. Thanks!

  5. Unas imágenes preciosas Hanna. La reflexión de los dos caminos, muy interesante.
    Yo pienso que elegir cualquiera de los dos caminos es indiferente, lo importante es que vivamos cualquiera de ellos como un camino de descubrimiento y aprendizaje personal. Disfrutar de lo que elegimos y no añorar lo que dejamos.
    Saludos

    1. Thank you, Leo. I have read your wise comment several times and find a great truth in what you write.
      All the best,
      Hanna

  6. Hi Hanna,
    I remember that a quote from the poem was used in “Dead Poets Society.” It is an inspiring poem. And it harmonized perfect with your paintings. I only know that Paul Celan translated the poem into german language.
    Happy Walk to you too and have an inspiring week.
    Stefan

    1. Stefan, thank you for your lovely comment. I didn’t know of Paul Celan. New doors open continuously when working with poetry. It is a marvellous universe.
      I wish you a nice week out there in the physical world 🙂
      Hanna

    1. Yes, you’re right Magnoliae. It is a worn theme but still interesting. The best one can do is to consult the heart 🙂
      All the best,
      Hanna

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