Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Road Not Taken

My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken." It seems pertinent to me at this time, as I prepare to leave the school where I began my teaching career and began my administrative career and served for twenty-five years, and as I set out to meet my first great challenge as principal of another school.

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.

I am not one of those who gets hung up on the last two lines. Taken out of context, these two lines cause people to stare off into space, striking a pose of nobility and victory, feeling quite satisfied that their lives have been different and better because they did not follow the crowd. This is not what the poem is about at all. Read the title. The speaker is filled with doubt and perhaps regret.

As I move on, I have no way of knowing if I have chosen the right path. But, unlike Frost's speaker, I am not going to dwell on what might have been, where the other path may have taken me. I know that the road ahead will diverge again and again and again, and I have to be ready to make the decisions regarding which path to choose, even when both equally lay with leaves no step has trodden black. And this, too, is in the poem.

1 comment:

  1. You are sorely missed. With the current climate of your old school, you made the right choice.