Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
This poem is regularly referenced to encourage people to avoid following the crowd, or take the easy route. Commencement speakers punctuate their speeches with Frost’s words to inspire graduates to pursue lofty, uncommon goals. When presented with a choice, dare to take the “less traveled” road, they would implore. Much is made of the choice. But, I wonder about the road itself. What if the poet had been forced down the “less traveled” road; would it still have made “all the difference?”
Caedmon and other extraordinary people have been placed on the road less traveled. Actually, they are on the little path, way off to the left, which the poet didn’t even notice. Will that make all the difference?
It is a hard concept for us to appreciate, for we are comfortable on our busy road. We look at our friends, on their less traveled road, and doubt that they could be happy or content. Yet day after day, happiness and contentment flow from Caedmon like words from the quill of Shakespeare. That little boy possess a joy that I will not profane with my limited vocabulary. We may not ever fully know why Caedmon, or anyone else, was chosen for the less traveled road, but perhaps that’s a joy reserved only for those that travel there.
Here is what I believe, what I hope, captures Caedmon’s view of his path.
The Road He Travels
By Ryan Sprague
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
But this is the only path I know.
A weary traveler, long I stood,
And wondered if I ever would,
Travel the road where my brothers go.
Their way is smoother, but all is fair,
I do not wish them off their road.
In our family, my burden’s shared.
It’s actually better that they are there.
For from that path they can share my load.
I doubt if I’d been given the choice,
That I’d have opted for this trail.
But I might have missed that still soft voice,
That gives me the power to rejoice,
And provides the wind that fills my sail.
After many steps along my way,
When at last my final breath is spent.
I’ll look back fondly on that day,
When the smoother path was taken away,
And know why mine was different.