and sorry I could not travel both

Read again this classic poem by Robert Frost :

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.




Frost plays with us in this poem.  My students take him at his word when he says “I took the one less travelled by.” However, earlier in the poem he says that they are worn about the same:

“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…”
That’s why this poem is so vexing.


<a href=””>Dilemma</a&gt;





Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

3 thoughts on “and sorry I could not travel both

  1. I think Mr. Frost was being metaphorical? When we choose a “road less traveled by” we choose something that is untried (by us), that might be hard for us, out of our comfort zone. We made the tougher choice. And maybe those leaves in the poem fell that morning, rendering the one path (with more trees apparently) looking less than traveled. Thank you for the re-post of one of my very favorite poems. That’ll be good to take with me as I journey through my day today!


  2. To me it seems like he was evaluating both options at the fork, found both fair options, and gave his reasons for taking the other one as being “more grassy and wanting wear.” And then he continues to say that they were equally worn and covered in new fallen leaves.
    The ending he plays with the reader like you rightly concluded, by saying that’s ages later in life, he’ll tell (for the heck of it!) people that it was the one less traveled, like with a wink!
    Difference made in what: his health, life, poetry, success- he wants us to keep guessing, like try it yourself and you’ll know.
    If it doesn’t help, you don’t have to post it-I’ll tell people that I used the road (interpretation) less traveled by😉😄

    Liked by 1 person

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