Saturday, November 15, 2008

The marriage of words and picture

I was looking through some of Michel Soultane’s photographs this morning (Michel is my French blogger friend, Papy Biou) when one reached out and spoke to me. “Pick me,” it said quietly. “I will help you make a memorable post.”

The scene was somewhere in the part of France where Michel/Papy lives, but it made me think of one of my favorite American poems, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, right down to the bend in the road. Frost, who lived from 1874 to 1963, is remembered for his descriptions of rural New England; he wrote “The Road Not Taken” in 1920. The poem is so well-known that it is practically a cliché, but I love it nonetheless. If it is new to you, now is a good time to learn it, tuck it away in your memory, and wait for it and the photograph to do their work. Here is Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” (and thank you, Papy, once again, for the photograph):

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 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.


  1. I do love that poem. That's a very appropriate image.

  2. I read that poem years ago in high school. Although I love it the reason I remember it so well is that many people called it the"The Road Less Traveled" including my teacher. It was a huge lesson to learn for me that you never correct an old hen who thinks she can never make a mistake. It stuck with me forever.

  3. I love the poem and have been on many of those roads.

  4. I had to learn that poem in 8th grade and I've loved it ever since! Makes me feel melancholy in a foot-loose, restless, delicious sort of way. And pictures or experiences with paths that go... where??? are irresistible!

  5. I have to wonder.....what made all the difference? His choice, or the fact that it was the road "less travelled by"? And, how would one even know there was a difference, since one can only take one path in life.

    I like the line with "way leads on to way" or something like that. Yeah, that's certainly how life is.

  6. Thanks to all of you for commenting. Reading the comments to my posts is as much fun as composing the posts in the first place.

    Ruth, I thought so, too. But read tomorrow's post to get a different slant on it.

    egghead (Vonda), I absolutely love the fact that someone whose blog is called "Little Egg Farm" just said
    "never correct an old hen who thinks she can never make a mistake"! Very fitting and very good advice.

    dr.john, do you mean New England roads or French roads? Or are you saying you have been on many of those roads that others have not taken? I'm confused and intrigued.

    rosezilla (Tracie), you've come up with a descriptive gem: "melancholy in a foot-loose, restless, delicious sort of way." That's exactly how the poem makes one feel.

    Jeannelle, you ask profound, unanswerable questions. Are you sure you're not Buddhist instead of Lutheran? I can almost hear the sound of one hand clapping!

  7. Oh, rhymsie.....if I am a Buddhist, then you are the Lutheran. :)