The Road Not Taken and Other Poems by Robert Frost

Like much of Robert Frost’s poetry, “The Road Not Taken” appears simple, but offers food for thought. Although it’s sometimes taken as a poem that celebrates choosing an unusual path in life, it is more that. There’s something of regret in it, too, and perhaps even a bit of irony, if the narrator is intended to be someone who overthinks things.

“The Road Not Taken” was first published in Mountain Interval (New York: Henry Holt & Company, 1916), and has been extensively anthologized ever since.

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.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…”
October 13, 2008. Photograph taken by user David Joly.
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Robert Frost’s 1922 poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” was first published in 1923 in his New Hampshire volume of poetry. Simple though it may see, poetic imagery, repetition, and personification, make this poem what Frost called in a letter to anthologist Louis Untermeyer, “my best bid for remembrance.”

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.

Do you enjoy Robert Frost poetry? You may read “Two Tramps in Mud Time” in the April Poems post (just scroll down).

Robert Frost Resources