Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Road Not Taken

He came upon me suddenly, and we both paused
that morning in the yellow wood. Perplexed, he faltered
between me and the other road he'd been traveling.
(Until that moment, I didn't even know we converged, she and I.)

For a heartbeat in eternity, he leaned into me—
watching dust motes swim in the sunlight,
hearing birdsong flutter among my branches,
even putting one foot forward on my rustling, leafy pavement—
then he drew back. I could hardly blame him;
I didn't know where I would lead him
any better than he—it's different with every traveler.

Yet I wanted so to see where we might go together;
my grasses would bloom beneath his gentle step.
But a path cannot draw any traveler on
against his will. I could only beckon
with birdsong and sunlight dancing with shadow
while he swayed at our convergence.

The yellow leaves trembled. A single maple wing
spiraled to the ground as he sighed
and started again down the other path.

And still I ache with the absence
of his gentle tread. My grasses may wilt with wondering,
If he had chosen differently—? but, no.

Two roads converged in a wood, she and I,
And he took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

EYN August 2011


  1. Yes, the title is probably a bit presumptuous... Titles, again.

    Also, I wanted to get this workshopped before posting, but I don't really have a working peer review environment at the moment, and I really needed to get this out. So, I may or may not post one or several revisions of this in the future. And, if anyone has any litery comments (positive or "constructive," heh heh...), I would be so glad to have them.

  2. this was so achingly lovely, and bittersweet, and made me cry a little. thank you for writing it, and posting it now

  3. Wow, I like it a lot. I never thought about how the "road not taken" would have felt, or any road for that matter. You really imbued it with a personality and even a soul. Beautiful poem!

    PS- awesome imagery

  4. Brianon: Thank you for reading it.

    Josh: Yes, it's fun how worlds spring to life out of picking a little-thought-of point of view. (We could get preachy and apply that to life and the grande scheme, but let's just keep it here for now.) If you find that you're stuck on a poem or story, try switching to another character's (or object's) viewpoint for a bit.

  5. That's a really interesting idea, I'll have to try it! Oddly, I was thinking on similar lines today, though not so much in terms of a characters' point of view as perspective in general. It seems like imagination isn't just for creating things that never existed, but also for breathing vitality and excitement into the mundane