In looking back at some of the prompts from years ago, I came across this one (based on a Robert Frost poem) that I thought might be interesting to revisit during these hot July days. We've all made decisions in our lives that we either bless or regret. Frosts's "The Road Not Taken" is about the process and the repercussions of making choices. I’ve always loved this poem for its symbolisms, accessibility, and universal appeal. This one of the best known and most often quoted of Frost’s poems. There is, of course, much more to this poem than a surface understanding reveals.
For this week’s prompt, “The Road Not Taken” will be our inspiration poem. Before beginning, please give it a read.
As you read, note that one of the poem’s fascinations is its archetypal dilemma. Be sure to note that it is later in his life that the narrator looks back, reflects upon the meaning of choice and chance, and marks this decision as a defining moment in his life.
Frost’s poem is about actual and figurative roads, and the fork in the path is an extended metaphor for making choices.
1. Write a poem about a metaphorical road that you didn’t take. Not the choice you made, but the one you didn’t. “Forks in the road” and “roads” seemed clichéd today, so be sure to create other symbolisms and metaphors for making choices that are fresh and new.
2. Write a poem about a “road not taken” in your life? Have you ever had to make a decision and then wondered much later how making the other choice might have impacted your life? Do you have any regrets?
3. Some analyses claim that Frost’s poem is about lost opportunities. Write a poem about a lost opportunity in your life?
4. Write a poem about the complexities of choice making. How do you feel about choice and chance?
Write a poem about a time that you had no choice.
“Choices” by Tess Gallagher
“The Decision” by Jane Hirschfield
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