Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

This is easily one of the most popular and most misunderstood poems of all time. I remember my favorite teacher in middle school, who I am still in contact with, had a poster with the final three lines of this poem on it. I thought it was so cheesy that I deliberately chose a desk to sit at where I would not have to see the poster during class. If you couldn't tell by my previous posts, I despise sentimentality. Makes me want to hurl.

Anyway, on with the mocking!

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you read familiar lines of poetry? If you've got it right now, kill it. Statistically speaking, this ain't the line you know. The line you know is all the way down in the fourth stanza. If this poem were a person, you'd be standing there saying to it, "you're a strong, independent poem," and it would be all like, "you don't know me. You don't know my life!"

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;

One thing I've got to say for Frost: unlike Longfellow, he can use rhythm and rhyme so deftly that you barely even notice it, if you're reading the poem correctly. If you're one of those assholes who reads lines of poems like each line is a sentence by itself, then I want to gouge your eyes out, you poem-ruining piece of shit.
Anyway, two roads. Can't split yourself in two, so instead of going anywhere, you just stand there like a dumbass. Gotcha. What's next? 

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

All right, so you took the nicer one, the one with the "better claim." Although you just said it's "just as fair." Methinks you're a wee bit of an indecisive bastard, Robert.

Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

So... that "better claim" line was just bullshit?

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.

Yep. We've clearly established here that the path you took was grassy and the Road Not Taken bent in the undergrowth and aside from that there is no fucking significant difference between the two paths. 

Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

If it's that important to you, Robert, maybe you should just pencil in a time to go down that road later. No biggie. Just simple time-management rather than aimless wandering. No wonder you're just a fucking poet.

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.

Ah, there's those familiar lines, so deeply cherished by - wait, WHAT? So this whole fucking poem is just about you predicting that you'll be a fucking grand-standing liar in the future? "Oh, I did things differently than all you sheeple. Because I'm smarter than you." Damn, man, fuck you.

There's an interesting backstory to this poem. Frost wrote it after spending a few months with a friend of his, Edward Thomas. They went for many walks together, and apparently Thomas had a habit of lingering at forks in the road and regretting not taking the other path. After writing it, Frost sent Thomas this poem, meaning it as a friendly jest. But Thomas took offense. (Of course he did, Robert! You sent him a poem wherein you characterized him as a lying, indecisive, self-absorbed, holier-than-thou prick.) This situation may have been the final straw in Thomas's decision to go fight in WWI, where he died.

Good job, Mr. Frost! You killed your friend with this poem!

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