Archive for the ‘Robert Frost’ Category



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.


On Sunday, my husband and I have a date night at Barnes & Noble. Two espressos, a stack of books and magazines between us…poetry on my side of the table…me reflecting on how poems inform my life. For 283 days, I have been snacking on poems…finding or remembering a poem that speaks to my state of mind…mostly staying away from the well-traveled poems.

I see this Frost poem in a collection and immediately my mind goes to 5th grade. Stewart Elementary School…Mrs. Conway. Martha Conway, who read aloud to us every day. Short stories, poems, a wonderful book about otters. Martha Conway, newly married, tall, willowy, blond, wool skirts. cardigan sweater sets and Papagallo flats. It was 1958 and the world was simple. Khrushchev had not yet taken off his shoe and banged it on a table at the UN or openly embraced Fidel Castro.

Martha Conway read this poem aloud and even though I didn’t completely understand it, I loved it immediately. Then she had us memorize any poem of our choice. I chose Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” I felt that snow, the dark, the cold, the miles ahead…and I was hooked.

Tonight, I bow to you, Martha Conway…almost 50 years later, you sparkle in my memory and I see you standing in front of the green blackboard; your perfect Palmer penmanship in yellow chalk. I remember all the countries in South American and their capitals; I remember how to “cast out nines” to check my multiplication and division. I remember poems because you made them breathe and dance in my mind. Thank you. Thank you.


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On Saturday, we gather again for Gratitude. A circle of women, sharing from the heart. We share our challenges; we share our delights. We see our commonality. We offer support; prayers; laughter. When we leave, our friend Kathleen gives each of us a beautiful pink rose.

When I was in college, I sang in a small chorus–we performed this Frost poem set to music and I’ve never forgotten it. I woke up the morning after our gathering with it running through my mind…


O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud —
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says “I burn.”
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.


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