Sunday, 13 January 2013

Photography: 'The Road Not Taken'

Photograph and reflection by Daniel Rollins

The beginning of a new year is a good moment to reflect on the significance of decisions you have made and need to make this year, to think about what direction you want your life to take and consider what you really want to live for.  

This picture was inspired by Robert Frost's poem, 'The Road Not Taken' (see below) which deals with our attitudes to how we make decisions and the effect that they can have on us. Frost himself warns the reader that there is more to the poem than meets the eye: "You have to be careful of that one; it's a tricky poem --- very tricky." 

So, as you look at the picture and read the poem, consider the path you will take.

 © Daniel Rollins, 2012 

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 marked 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.

                         Robert Frost, 1916


  1. To be honest Dan, it's really about the lack of effect that choosing a different path has. The last line is not intended seriously, look at 'both equally lay' and 'really about the same'. The common mistake is believing it urges us to choose 'the path less travelled by', when in fact both paths are practically the same, and was intended to mock his friend's indeciciveness. Especially considering that Frost wrote it tongue in cheek to his friend who he considered overly indecisive.... Nice picture though! :)

    Gregory W-G.

    1. Thanks Greg, while Frost may have been writing 'tongue in cheek' about a decision that seemed to make no difference, the poem is still good at making us examine decisions we have made or will have to make.

      Are the options we are considering all really the same and the question unimportant? Or is the decision actually very significant with the possibility of radically changing our lives?

      Another important part of the poem is at the end of the third stanza where Frost writes, "Yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back".
      So although on the surface the options may be the same, we will never truly know what was round the bend in the undergrowth once we've taken the other.


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