TITHONUS' DIARY!!


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klik
2002-09-26 - 2:08 a.m.

I wrote this stuff originally for another reason, but saw the poem in cista's diary and thought maybe I'd post it here too.

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Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” is often quoted just as the last three lines:

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I –

I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference”

They ring very nicely but the trouble is that, read alone, they lose what makes the poem interesting. It becomes a boast – “I’m different! I did it my way!” But look, here’s something interesting from the first stanza:

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood”

“I could not travel both and be one traveler”! Isn’t this suggestive of the possibility that, if one were to let go of the need to be “one”, that it would be unnecessary to choose between paths?

And in the last stanza, if we give it in full, then the whole character of those lines is totally changed:

“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”

So he is making a prediction about his future recollection of the event – and in an ironic voice, too. Because in the second stanza:

“Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,”

About the same! The road less traveled by is actually the road “very slightly less traveled, if there’s any difference, which in fact, there might not be.”

So it’s this… tension that he’s writing about, really, this sense of having to make a choice and not knowing how to make it, and being filled with fearful thoughts of his future realisation that this decision actually “made all the difference”.

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"I'm going down to the murky water

Because it is my home" - Oh Susanna


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