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 was written in 1920. It is easy to understand what is going on in this poem. A man is walking in the woods and comes to a fork in the road. He stands there contemplating which fork to take, the right fork or the left fork. He looks at and thinks about both forks and determines that each fork is equally worn and equally overlaid with un-trodden leaves so neither fork seems to have an attribute or appearance that would cause him to select it over the other fork. The man selects one of the forks, telling himself that he will someday come back take the other fork. Yet he knows it is unlikely that he will have the opportunity to do so. In the last paragraph he thinks about being in the future and looking back on his decision and concludes that he would have chosen the road less traveled.
The concept of this poem sums up each of the large and small decisions that we face each day and from time to time. As a teenager, the decision to get involved with one group of people over another group of people can make a significant difference as to who we become. For the better or for the worse. The decision on what college to attend, what major to choose, or whether to attend college at all, sets us down a life path that may possibly not be altered. The decision to date a particular person, to marry, or to divorce are our folks in the road.
Most of the time, we don’t know if we made the correct choice at the time we make the choice. We have to analyze our choice in the future, looking back in time. As I look back on my choices, I regret some and I applaud others. But regardless if they were the right choices or the wrong choices, they are now part of the fabric of my life and make me what I am and who I am.
I think when it is time for me to cross over from this life to the after-life, I would like this poem read to those that might be gathered, and when the reader finishes reading the poem, reading in a serious tone, like poetry readers seem to have: an earnest tone if you will, I would like the listeners to cheer. To cheer for my choices and to cheer for their own choices. I would like smiles around and warm embraces of each other.
As I continue on in life I look forward to making choices, choosing forks in the road.