Published by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken is a poem which was first published as the first poem in the collection Mountain Interval of 1916. It was later included in a lot of English Literature books of school. The poem consists of 4 stanzas with each containing 5 lines.
The poem signifies a situation where the author has come across a diversion on a road and has to choose one among them.
Summary Read Time: Less than 5 minutes
First Published in: 1916
Below is the detailed yet quick summary of the poem:
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;
Here, the poet says that he’s stuck at the diversion of a road which leads to 2 paths. He can choose only one path. He tried to see through both the paths as far as he could till their curve points.
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,
The poet tried to be careful and find the most appropriate path between 2 before making his choice. But after a certain point, he was only able to see trees and grass. He relates the same with life as we come across some tough situations and have to make our choice among them. After looking at both paths for a long time, the poet realises that both paths look identical.
He then takes a path which he feels is slightly better because it was taken by lesser people. The poet says this because this path was more grassier and hence must be walked upon by lesser people. He though But after walking for some distance, he realises that both the paths were almost same. He again relates this with our lives as each decision of ours has its own set of good and bad decisions. We may think we are in a better position that others but it is not the reality.
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.
The poet says that both the paths looked similar that morning and while taking one path, he decided he will take the other one some other day. Though, he knew that he may never come back again. He took that other path because every path leads to another path. The same thing happens in life too. We make a decision in life and move towards it thinking we can take the other option later on if required but that does not usually happen.
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.
The poet says that sometime in the future, he shall remember this moment that how he had to take a tough decision and choose one path among two. How he chose the path less taken and how that one decision shaped his future.
The same thing can be related to our lives. When we grow up, we have to make some tough decision in our youth which ultimately shapes our future. So it is important to think properly and make the wise decision. This is necessary because it is not easy to go back after making a bad decision.