Abandoned car on a broken road after the Hawke's Bay Earthquake, 1931
You've heard the following poem before, no doubt. It's one of Robert Frost's most famous and most overlooked at the same time. Most everyone knows, or has heard part of, the last stanza.
But read again, for I find as much in the first as the last. It is, like the paths its talks about, a deceptively tricky poem. Every day we make choices. Every last one of them carries an opportunity, and every last one of them has a cost.
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.