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Poems > American > Frost
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for the enjoyment
and passion of words,
thoughts, and disiplines.
The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

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.

Note: "The Road Not Taken" is a poem by Robert Frost, published in 1916 as the first poem in the collection Mountain Interval.
Frost spent the years 1912 to 1915 in England, where among his acquaintances was the writer Edward Thomas. Thomas and Frost became close friends and took many walks together. After Frost returned to New Hampshire in 1915, he 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. However, Frost later expressed chagrin that most audiences took the poem more seriously than he had intended; in particular, Thomas took it seriously and personally, and it provided the last straw in Thomas' decision to enlist in World War I. Thomas was killed two years later in the Battle of Arras.


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.  
His house is in the village though;  
He will not see me stopping here  
To watch his woods fill up with snow.  

My little horse must think it queer  
To stop without a farmhouse near  
Between the woods and frozen lake  
The darkest evening of the year.  

He gives his harness bells a shake  
To ask if there is some mistake.  
The only other sound’s the sweep  
Of easy wind and downy flake.  

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,  
But I have promises to keep,  
And miles to go before I sleep,  
And miles to go before I sleep.

Note: "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is a poem written in 1922 by Robert Frost, and published in 1923 in his New Hampshire volume. Imagery and personification are prominent in the work. In a letter to Louis Untermeyer, Frost called it "my best bid for remembrance".

Robert Frost was a great late bloomer. He wrote his most frequently anthologized poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," at 48. The poem became deeply entrenched in the American consciousness; million of high schoolers have memorized it, and in 1960, John F. Kennedy routinely closed his campaign speeches by quoting the lines, "But I have promises to keep, /And miles to go before I sleep." Pondering the life cycles of poets, Frost reflected that "young people have insight. They have a flash here and a flash there. It is like the stars coming out in the sky in the early evening. They have flashes of light." But older poets made works with greater depth: "It is later in the dark of life that you see forms, constellations. And it is the constellations that are philosophy." In a famous essay, the 65-year old Frost stated his belief that poetry should provide a clarification of life, "a momentary stay of confusion;" the poem should ideally run a course — "It begins in delight and ends in wisdom." - David Galenson - Professor of Economics, University of Chicago - January 10 2013
Robert Frost
(Robert Lee Frost)
Born: March 26, 1874, San Francisco, California, USA
Died: January 29, 1963 (aged 88), Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Resting place: Old Bennington Cemetery in Bennington, Vermont.
Occupation: poet, playwright
Spouse: Elinor Miriam White
Children: Elinor and Robert Frost had six children
He was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and
his command of American colloquial speech.