Robert Lee Frost was one of America’s leading 20th-century poets and a four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. An essentially pastoral poet often associated with rural New England, Frost wrote poems whose philosophical dimensions transcend any region. Although his verse forms are traditional, he was a pioneer in the interplay of rhythm and meter and in the poetic use of the vocabulary and inflections of everyday speech. His poetry is thus both traditional and experimental, regional and universal.
Frost read a poem at John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration (1961) and is one of my favorite American poets (and I have quite a few). Here is one of his more popular poems to remind ourselves that in our journey of life we have to make choices. Some of us take the familiar and others traverse the unfamiliar. Which one will it be for you?
It is good to think about the choices you will be making in 2008 and reflect on your future as 2007 recedes into the pages of human history. 2007 was a dismal year with floods at home, and calamities and tragedies abroad. Will 2008 be any better for Malaysia as we face the real prospect of further economic slowdown, and a fresh round of price increases? Are we not worried that we have to spend more ringgits to buy the same quantity of goods and services? But this evening as we usher in the New Year, be of good cheer.
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.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia