Just this week, I have been reading various poems from different authors stressing themes from poverty and freedom to love and suicide, even serious matters about life and its satirical sides as well. It’s quite a bizarre thing for me because I was not used to in this kind of hobby, the least reading it even without analyzing it. Simply because I thought that the world of poetry is…boring. I said to myself I can’t just do it. I can’t spare my precious time doing nothing but skeptical. If I want to go literature, I can always try short stories, or novels. They’re pretty much interesting than poetry reading. For me, poems are nothing, useless.
Not until last week. Not until my Speech Professor on my Oral Interpretation Class required all her students to read poems, analyze them and interpret them according how we understand it. And, does this mean me trying poems? No way! But in this case, it turned as if I have a choice. It is an Oral Interpretation Class. It is a performance class. Of course I knew it from the start that at some point in my career I must do some things I prefer not doing it at all which includes going poetry. But I thought can I ever pass this course if I don’t have any plans to fulfill the course requirements? Then I started poetry.
I found out that poetry is fun. And like me, it is going to be difficult at first especially when start analyzing it, because you have to do it before you can really understand it. Later, you’ll just realize, you’re now into the world of imagination and creativity. You can’t help it but imagine, imagine, imagine.
One of the first poems I like is Robert Brown’s The Road Not Taken. It’s a twenty-line conventional-versed poem following a full rhyme rhythmic scheme that has a theme on decision-making, which the young ones and the once young can relate with it.
I find this poem quite exceptional because it has a clear message from the start as it is shown in the first two lines “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, //And sorry I could not travel both.” This shows that the speaker is stuck to a certain point in his life wherein he has to make up his mind on what decision to make. Two roads, meaning two options; but he couldn’t travel both, so from those two, he has to decide which way to take. If he takes the first, then he lose the second, and same is true if he decides to take the second road.
What is interesting about the speaker is that he made a choice that is quite non-conventional. He opted to go to the second way, the one that was traveled on only by a few. He didn’t drive his way to the first one though he knew it was better than the first. From this line of thinking, it is very lucid that the speaker values decision-making as personal. No matter how critical his situation was, he made it to the point of keeping it that “personal” that he didn’t have to be affected by anyone around him to influence whatever decision he has to make – in this case, on what road to travel. The decision the speaker made also clearly manifests his independence and truthfulness to himself. Because he not merely let his decision depends on what others do or say, because he has been true to himself in choosing a decision that he thought is good and righteous for him, because of the speaker’s actions, it has “made all the difference.”
The most important metaphor in the poem is the two roads which actually represents choices in life. The speaker in the poem chose the one that was not known by others – and that was the best decision for him to make. The first road is the road that most people take where assurance is quite secured. The second road is the one less traveled upon, thus risky – it requires a certain height of courage. They both appear to be good choices though, so the quest again lies on which road to take: The first or the second? To the speaker, picking the one less traveled upon is his better option even though this would mean a harder way in maneuvering things to work it the right way. This is demonstrated in the lines “I shall be telling this with a sigh // Somewhere ages and ages hence:” Meaning some time later on in the future.
Sometime in our life we will all make a choice. It can be a choice of right or wrong; whether you intend to good and just ends or the opposite it’s all up to you. You are in control of yourself so you have the willpower to choose whatever you want. During your class discussion, for instance, you can always opt to or not to listen to your professor’s discussion. As I’ve said, it all depends on you. But of course, let us also take notice that we are also responsible for every decision we make. If we make good choices then good for us; if we make pity ones, let’s modify it, improve it, consider it as a challenge for us not to quit but to do good, struggle to be good.
Life is full of choices, it just matters which one you make. The one made less often may not seem the best at the time, but in the end it really is, as the poem demonstrates. Robert Frost wrote an amazing poem that vividly depicts the choices that we have to make in life.