Selected by Dan Clendenin

Robert Frost (1874–1963)

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.

Robert Lee Frost was born in San Francisco, March 26, 1874, and died in Boston, January 29, 1963. He was one of America’s leading 20th-century poets and a four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. An essentially pastoral poet often associated with rural New England, Frost wrote poems whose philosophical dimensions transcend any region. Although his verse forms are traditional — he often said, in a dig at arch rival Carl Sandburg, that he would as soon play tennis without a net as write free verse — he was a pioneer in the interplay of rhythm and meter and in the poetic use of the vocabulary and inflections of everyday speech. His poetry is thus both traditional and experimental, regional and universal.

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